Carrie Tibke

Charles A. Jones Career and Education Center

Carrie Tibke came to the Charles A. Jones Career & Education Center with a history of domestic abuse that has been described as "almost unimaginable." The abuse was physical, emotional, and sexual "on a scale inconceivable in a civilized society," writes CAJ's Principal Nancy Compton, the author of Carrie's nomination. Beaten by her mother, Carrie was introduced to drugs and alcohol and forced to sell controlled substances. She was repeatedly told she would never amount to anything. Her only escape was to move to the other side of the country. But even this didn't help as she entered into another abusive relationship, this time at the hand of her husband. As a result, she was hospitalized and diagnosed with panic anxiety disorder.

Through an inner strength that can only be described as divine guidance, Carrie was determined to provide a peaceful life, free of abuse, for herself and her son. She sought education and training to gain the skills she knew she needed to become productively employed. Her determination led her to the Charles A. Jones Career & Education Center where she enrolled in the Medical Assisting program. Still, her struggles persisted and followed.

Long time abuse resulted in medical issues that required surgery, forcing Carrie to forego her education and drop out of school. Willpower overcame, and she eventually returned to school, arriving bruised and hungry on occasion. She would often sleep at a friend's house or not at all, and would arrive at school tired and hungry. Nevertheless, Carrie persevered through the pain and fatigue to complete her education.

Medical Assisting instructor Patricia Bradshaw recognized Carrie's ultimate potential and encouraged her when she had no confidence in herself. Patricia's encouragement and guidance strengthened Carrie and helped her successfully complete the program, excel in her externship, and obtain a position with a doctor who also recognizes her potential and believes in her capabilities. Carrie's employer has instilled confidence and encouraged her to continue learning and expanding her horizons. She has finally found the family she never knew, says Carrie – a family of co-workers who believe in her and recognize her talent and capabilities.

This is Carrie's story. It is a story of inner strength prevailing over incredible adversity, and a group of caring individuals making a tremendously positive difference in another person's life.

Carrie was selected from a field of nominees to receive the Thomas L. Weems Memorial Scholarship Award. She was also selected to be the student speaker at CAJ's June graduation. Carrie stood tall, telling her emotional story, acknowledging her teachers and their part in her success. No dry eyes left the ceremony that day. The audience stood and applauded in support as Carrie invited her son up on the stage and gave him a motherly hug.

"In my thirty-six plus years in education, twenty-five of which have been in adult education, I can safely say that Carrie Tibke is the most remarkable and resilient student I have ever had the pleasure of meeting," writes nominator Nancy Compton. "I cannot imagine a finer candidate for recognition under the California Adult Education Students Succeed program."

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