Monday, May 16, 2011

Education, Degree Lead Student to a New Life

Two weeks ago, Catherine Hendrickson celebrated at Rio Salado College’s graduation, along with hundreds of other students. She worked hard the last few years as a full-time student, even making the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. She earned an associate degree in chemical dependency, and yet, that was only half the battle.

“I was sentenced to prison, and used it as an opportunity to change my life,” said Hendrickson, detailing the adversity she has had to overcome to reach her educational goals.

Hendrickson lost her parents at an early age, and had a turbulent upbringing – at one point she was forced to live on the streets - which eventually led to her incarceration.

“I was driven to make terrible choices in my past, which in turn led to the consequences of criminal activity,” Hendrickson said.

However, incarceration may have led Hendrickson on the road to a better life.

“I did not want prison to be an end, but a new beginning,” Hendrickson said. “I began my journey by enrolling in computer technology classes held at the prison, through Tempe-based Rio Salado College. To my amazement, I completed my first class with an A. That was all it took.”

Hendrickson set about taking all the classes toward a computer technology degree. And yet she found something was missing.

“I came to realize that the motivation behind this field of study was financial security,” said Hendrickson. “I knew that if prison was truly a new beginning, I needed to make the right choice and follow the passion of my heart.”

Hendrickson changed her major to chemical dependency, and has never looked back.

“I was release from prison a year ago, and clung to my graduation goal with fervor,” Hendrickson said.

She credits Rio Salado’s online instructors, her family, friends, pastor, and her own determination for her success.

“It has been through hard work, diligent effort and staying focused on making the right choices that I have accomplished so much,” Hendrickson said. “I have finally become the person I was created to be.”

That person is someone who is dedicated to helping others.

“My life now is about giving back to others by helping them make better choices,” Hendrickson said. “If I can even help one person, then I will have touched the lives of countless others throughout the community.”

In the future, Hendrickson hopes to work with incarcerated women, to help them overcome the obstacles associated with drug addiction.

“We need to become a proactive society in dealing with issues of chemical dependency,” Hendrickson said. “It is far more beneficial to address the problem in its beginning stages than to clean up the collateral damage.”

Earning her degree has also intensified Hendrickson’s appetite for education. She has been accepted into a bachelor’s degree program in counseling, and hopes to ultimately earn a doctorate in behavioral health.

“I know without a doubt that if Rio Salado had not provided the opportunity to start classes while in prison, I would not be here today,” Hendrickson said.

For more information about earning an associate degree, contact Rio Salado College.

34 comments:

Marcos - Dog Trainer said...

Sometimes, people has a bad life...And it leads at a bad end. That person had de chance...And she knew how to take it.
Thats a story of personal and social superation. Catherine Hendrickson is an admirable person.

Chris said...

This only goes to show the importance of education in a person's life and the bad effects of a devastating childhood.

She finally overcame her adversities and proved that nothing is impossible

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Alan said...

Alan
Catherine Hendrickson is one of the lucky ones who managed to turn her life around, glad to see she is giving back I wish her good luck

Isee Test Prep said...

Catherine Hendrickson, you go girl!!!
Very inspirational.

July - hemorrhoids treatment said...

everything bad that happens to someone is just the result of choices that have taken in the past, Catherine Hendrickson did something that not everyone can, inspiring

How To Get A Girl To Like you said...

Great story. :)

Not the first time I've heard people changing their lives after experiencing something horrible in life... Maybe it sometimes takes pain to realize that you must do something good... Yup :).

Dave.

Aloe Vera said...

You really inspire me Ms. Catherine. How I wish I could be strong like what you are.

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Well this is a very inspirational incident. It takes a deal of courage to be like you Ms. Catherine

House Cleaning said...

Yes.. A lady with so much courage deserves to be applauded. You managed to keep up courage Mrs Catherine.

Payroll said...

As I read this blog content I was really amazed of the courage you have shown despite all hindrances to your education. Now I am confident to do things that really makes me happy. Thank you so much.

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Inspiring story. Great to see that Rio Salado College was able to make a difference in someone's life.

Shutters Dublin said...

It was a great moment when you kept yourself strong at heart in spite of the hurdles that came into your life. You managed to do really well.

Solar Pool Heater said...

You ms. Catherine really inspire me. Not only me but to those people who are not yet awaken too. Great sharing Cath. Wish you all the best.

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Joe Henning said...

I really think this is an awesome tale of overcoming and it is so wonderful that you overcame the adversities you faced in such a way. Imagine all those brains could've gone lost...!

Marie said...

I admire her dedication in making her life better. She knew how to pick a college major, and also how to get through all of life's major hurdles. Congratulations, Catherine, and good luck to all your endeavors.

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Nothing is comparable to a good education. I think, it is the foundation of everything you will do in the future. It's like the start of everything nice and wonderful.

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I admire her as well. She really did a great job in making her life fruitful. She was able to overcome all the challenges and obstacles throughout her college life. I hope she'll get a job that pays off all of her struggles.

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I completely agree with the above comments. Education helps us realize our basic rights. It helps to judge independently, to think and to question.

Keith Jeffersons said...

Why then is it always the case that two thirds of most societies are kept in the dark, left to embrace ignorance?

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Wow really touching story and what a transformation, well done for never giving up!

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Dave said...

Very inspirational blog Education is number 1.

How To Get A Girl To Like You said...

Inspiring story, I take my hat off to you and wish you all the best in your endeavor to help people.

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Why then is it always the case that two thirds of most societies are kept in the dark, left to embrace ignorance?

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