Justine Talmadge finds her story at Caddo Kiowa Technology Center

December 13, 2018

After years of failures and running adrift with only disappointments to her name, Justine had her “aha” moment

Justine Talmadge Photo
Justine Talmadge (Anadarko), along with classmates Hagan Hedrick (Binger) and Isiah Tartsah (Apache), are geared up to tell sophomores in the district about the Welding and Metal Fabrication program at Caddo Kiowa Technology Center.

“I feel accomplished. I feel like I am succeeding. I feel blessed.” This is how Justine Talmadge starts her story now. But her narrative didn’t always begin that way. It’s hard to imagine that the confident young lady with specific goals and aspirations today was once anything but self-assured.

“I’m a recovering addict – started when I was in seventh grade,” Justine Talmadge explains. “I had to go to alternative school in tenth grade, but I ended up dropping out.”

After years of failures and running adrift with only disappointments to her name, Justine had her “aha” moment. “I had just spent six months in rehab. I had three kids and no education. I finally made up my mind to have a goal in my life, and that was to get my GED and find a career. I have never had any hopes, dreams, passions – until I got clean.”

And there has been no stopping her once she set things into motion. Justine had tried to get her GED three other times without much success. But this time was going to be different because she wanted it.

“I didn’t want to be a nobody. I knew God had more plans for my life than to just drift through it. I wanted to prove I wasn’t stupid,” she continues.

So armed with raw courage and an unwavering determination, Justine enrolled in the Adult Basic Education program at Caddo Kiowa Technology Center in Fort Cobb, Oklahoma. This first step led her to what would become her passion.

During class, ABE Instructor Brad Shaw talked to the students about their future and what they want to do. During a job fair on campus one day, Justine visited with a welding company, and she knew her answer. She wanted to be a welder. So with the Dr. Orbra C. Husley Scholarship Foundation paying for her HiSET test, Justine took the exam and passed. Subsequently, she will complete her first year in the Welding and Metal Fabrication program this spring.

“It took me 15 years to figure out what I am good at, and I am good at welding. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else,” concludes Nontraditional student Justine.

Justine says that the drive her Welding Instructor Keith Theesen and Assistant Shane Wilson have to get a student to succeed plays a considerable role in her ambitions. And the dedication that Mr. Shaw has for his students to get where they want to go is instrumental to her path today.

“Justine Talmadge has overcome a legion of obstacles and adversities and is now destined for great things. She is that student who comes into your classroom and reminds you why you do what you do,” said ABE Instructor Brad Shaw.

For over half a century, CKTC has provided career training, business and industry services and leadership programs to a rural district in southwest Oklahoma. Opportunities at CKTC range from business and health to science and transportation trades. Additionally, CKTC offers customized workplace training and short-term training. More information about CKTC is available online at www.mycktc.com or by calling 405.643.5511. CKTC is a proud member of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, which provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

4 Comments on “Justine Talmadge finds her story at Caddo Kiowa Technology Center

  1. Proud of Justine and students like her who are willing to pursue non-traditional student opportunities that allow them to reach their goals.

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