As a young child, Krystle Starks would travel from Indiana to Wisconsin each summer to spend time with her cousin. In 2014, as an adult, Krystle decided to make Wisconsin a permanent home by moving herself and her young sons to Oshkosh.
But along with this fresh start, came a reality for Krystle: she had some unfinished business to take care of.
“I did not have my high school diploma and I wasn’t sure where to start,” Krystle said. “But in working with an assistance agency in Oshkosh, I learned I could get my High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) through Fox Valley Technical College.”
After completing the requirements and earning her HSED, the next order of business for Krystle was determining what she should do next. She’d always wanted to pursue a law degree, but didn’t know if that was within reach.
“That’s when I was connected with Ashli,” Krystle said. “I probably wouldn’t have made it through everything without her. She’s been like a guardian angel for me.”
Krystle is referring to Ashli Hahn, retention coordinator at FVTC. Not only did Ashli help Krystle map out her educational path, she also introduced Krystle to the Promise Scholarship. It’s a program that allows students who meet certain eligibility requirements to complete a college program at no cost.
“Ashli told me about the Paralegal program at FVTC. I realized it would be a good way for me to get started without jumping into a four-year program right away,” Krystle said. “It was a good way to get back into school and also learn more about legal studies.”
Krystle completed the Paralegal program and graduated in December 2020. She also has the honor of being the first Adult Basic Education (ABE) Promise Scholarship recipient at Fox Valley Technical College to complete an associate degree.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” Krystle said. “It saved me a lot of money and the program gave me that push that I needed to get going.”
And Krystle will keep going. She starts at Lakeland University this summer, where she’ll pursue a bachelor’s degree in Business. Almost all of the credits she earned at FVTC will transfer to Lakeland. Once she’s done there, law school is up next.
“I am now half-way through my bachelor’s degree and I do not have any school debt from my time at FVTC because of the Promise Scholarship.”