Committed to his education, Northland Pioneer College (NPC) student, Victor Cruz, has been celebrated for yet another of his many achievements. Most recently, the September 2021 presentation by the Arizona Association for Lifelong Learning’s (AALL), Student of the Year Adult Basic Education (ABE) Award. Along with the award, Cruz will receive a $500 scholarship sponsored by Edgenuity. Cruz received this prestigious award for exemplary commitment and contribution to the field of lifelong learning. The faculty and staff of NPC’s College and Career Preparation (CCP) department couldn’t be prouder. Kathleen Bentley, adjunct faculty in CCP, states, “We congratulate Victor for all his accomplishments and wish him many more successes to come.”
Cruz is only the third student in the state of Arizona to earn a High School Equivalency (HSE) via one of the new AZ Department of Education pathways for HSE, and is the first from NPC. He earned a Construction Certificate of Proficiency (CP) through NPC’s IET program, which provides a practical approach to adult basic education and literacy by concurrently and contextually, teaching HSE preparation skills along with workforce training for a career in a specific occupation. Students study basic general education skills such as math, reading, and writing and then put them into practice in their career skills training studies. With assistance from the faculty and staff of NPC’s College and Career Preparation, Cruz earned his CP, along with an OSHA 10 Certificate, all of which supported his attainment of his HSE.
For many years, students struggled to pass the GED® tests; usually due to stringent Math or Language Arts course requirements. Recently, the Arizona Department of Education adopted alternate pathways for prospective students to earn their High School Equivalency diploma. Students can still take the original five official GED® tests, but now there are additional ways to earn the diploma such as combining credits from selected high school classes that have already been completed by the student with college credits, adding employment history and other employment/skill credentials such as OSHA 10 to complete some of the High School Equivalency award requirements.
Cruz found NPC very supportive from day one when he came to the Show Low campus in the fall of 2014. He would take online classes or a night class each semester as he worked to support his wife and two little girls at the time (now he has three), whose encouragement gave him strength throughout the process of reaching his goals. Even his employers at Red Devil Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria in Pinetop, where he has worked for over 12 years, encouraged and accommodated his work schedule so he could take the additional classes necessary to reach his goal.
While at NPC, Cruz quietly worked his way to the top and has encouraged so many others along the way. He tells potential students: “Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t give up on your dreams. Improve yourself and challenge yourself to be a role model for others and to your children no matter how long it takes.”
Cruz’s future ambitions include becoming an over the road truck driver and eventually owning his own trucking company. He looks forward to traveling and having new adventures and plans to continue inspiring his family to go after their dreams.
If you or someone you know are interested in earning your High School Equivalency and learning job skills at the same time visit www.npc.edu/high-school-equivalency or contact NPC’s Associate Dean of Education and Career Preparation, Gail Campbell, at 928-289-6535 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.