Debra Polk

MI-BEST shifts Quitman County native back in the right direction

Polk didn’t enter the program very confident in herself, but she persevered with guidance from MI-BEST instructors and staff.

MI-BEST shifts Quitman County native back in the right direction

Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4057 - Melody Dixon

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Sat Jun 29, 2019

Debra Polk

For Debra Polk, it was her children’s educational achievements that sparked the idea of pursuing an education again.

“Seeing my children grow up and doing so well in school made me realize that I need to fix my life and secure my future not only for me, but them as well,” said Polk.

Polk, who became a mother at 16 years old, decided to make strides toward this special pursuit on September 26, 2018, a date that holds significance. She found Coahoma’s MI-BEST (Mississippi Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training) program to be an answered prayer.

The MI-BEST initiative, launched through a grant to the Mississippi Community College Board from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and offered at Mississippi community colleges, seeks to aid individuals who did not complete high school in earning their high school equivalency credits and provide them the opportunity to also pursue a Career-Technical Education program simultaneously.

Polk didn’t enter the program very confident in herself, but she persevered with guidance from MI-BEST instructors and staff.

“Upon entering the building on my first day, I thought that I was going to freeze up and quit,” Polk said. “…I had the best backup support from Mrs. Tiffany Johnson, Mr. Johnson, and Ms. Campbell. They worked with me and walked me through every step. They helped me believe in myself even when I started to doubt myself.”

Debra PolkThe 36-year-old has CCC MI-BEST instructor Stanley Lang to thank for introducing her to the program. Lang’s explanation of the program gave her hope. Polk said ‘yes’ to it right away.

Those working with Coahoma’s MI-BEST welcomed Polk with open arms. Polk went from eighth grade dropout to full-time college student within a year.

“Mr. Lang took the time out to make sure that I got it right,” she said.

The Marks, Mississippi native also appreciates Workforce Development counselor Marilyn Shelton and pathway navigator Chiquina Griffin, as well as instructors Debra Profit and Kimberly Hollins, whom she describes as a wonderful teacher.

Having earned her GED in just two months, Polk has chosen to take up the Business and Office Technology program, one of the career pathways offered through MI-BEST.

“What I have always dreamt about has come true,” Polk said. “I promise to not stop until I have reached my goals.”

For more information about the Coahoma Community College MI-BEST program, contact MI-BEST navigator Chiquina Griffin at (662) 621-4301.