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Shaina's Story
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Shaina Huntley with her son
Shaina Huntley with her son

Shaina Huntley is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the community college national honor society, and she is proud to share that her cumulative GPA is 3.5. She's not boasting; it's just that she finds these accomplishments astonishing given the fact she ended high school with a 1.9 GPA.

By the time she was 25, she had been through a lot, including being a witness in a trial when she was 17 and dealing with related PTSD. She had been married and divorced and had a young son to take care of. But Shaina says she always managed "to find a silver lining and persevere against all odds."

After her divorce, she realized the best thing to do for herself and her son was to get an education and get started on a path to a career, so she enrolled at North Seattle College, incurring some debt in the process. She found it hard to make ends meet as a single parent, but she was determined. She found some programs to help offset the costs of attending college, including a scholarship.

When I was chosen for the scholarship, I felt so much relief and gratitude. I have a hard time expressing it in words. Suddenly the financial burden was lifted completely, and I was free to put all of my energy into my education and raising my son.

A program at North even helped with child care. Shaina's son went to school with her and stayed at the ASB-sponsored child care center while she was in class.

I never dared dream of the possibilities that I see now. My son and I are in this position only because of the amazing support system at my school. The advisors and faculty are all invested in my success.

Shaina graduated with an A.A.S. in general business (and a 3.5 GPA), and she has her sights set on an additional degree. She's transferred her skills to managing a tech support company.

Note: This story appeared in Seattle Colleges Spotlight.