Tehaunnia’s Journey from Homeschooled to HiSET to Police Cadet

By on August 21, 2019
STLCC HiSET graduate Tehaunnia Hadley

STLCC HiSET® program student, Tehaunnia Hadley, describes her unique pathway from being homeschooled to attending the HiSET program and becoming a police cadet.

Tehaunnia Hadley has dreamed about a career in law enforcement since she was 12 years old. But like many of her peers in STLCC’s HiSET program, her path to realizing that dream has been nontraditional.

“My family had to move around a lot,” said Hadley. “We were actually homeless a couple of times and weren’t able to stay in a specific school district.”

Adjusting to different teachers and environments was tough, so when Hadley was in 4th grade, her mother decided that it would be best to homeschool Hadley and her siblings. Her mother created a curriculum that allowed the children to study in the comfort of their own home, relieved from some of the stress students can face in a school environment.

“The pressure was off when I became homeschooled,” she said. “I didn’t have to stress about being known as a straight-A student. I didn’t have to pick out outfits to wear – I only had a certain amount of clothes. I feel like being homeschooled was the best thing for me because in public school I was turning into a person I didn’t want to be.”

Hadley was homeschooled through 12th grade, and then immediately sought her high school equivalency diploma through the STLCC HiSET program to help her quickly advance her career goals.

While attending her HiSET preparation classes, Hadley maintained a job at a movie theater and participated in the St. Louis Police Explorers program that offers those interested in learning about a career in law enforcement an opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge and practical experiences. Her plate was very full, which made her especially appreciative of the support she received from the HiSET staff.

“The program was great,” she said. “I was pretty much set with all the subjects but math. The tutors, they were really helpful. They made it easy for me. They helped me understand what I was doing.”

Hadley’s tutors taught her how to make a résumé and even served as references when she was given the opportunity to apply for a paid, hands-on police cadet position. In addition to helping Hadley secure the role and prepare to pass the HiSET exam, the tutors boosted her confidence throughout the process.

“They didn’t put any pressure on me,” Hadley reported. “They didn’t make me feel like I had to be a certain way in order to understand things. They never made me feel bad for not knowing something.”
Hadley has high hopes for the future now that she has completed her high school equivalency exam and reached a new level in her career. She now has her sights set on entering the police academy when she turns 21.

“I feel great,” she said. “I got the job I wanted. It was an amazing experience.”

Visit stlcc.edu/hiset or call 314-514-5311 for more information about the St. Louis Community College HiSET program.

About Rebecca Rutherford

Rebecca Rutherford is Marketing Communications Coordinator of St. Louis Community College’s Workforce Solutions Group, which delivers non-credit continuing education opportunities, corporate training and community services to the St. Louis region.

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