MOORE — Shortly before she finished high school, Heather Fry dropped out and got a job at a drugstore.
“I was one of those students that was a little rambunctious,” she said.
Few would have imagined that on May 11, she would be among the nearly 1,200 students receiving degrees or certificates at this year's Oklahoma City Community College graduation.
“Oh, hopeless,” was the reaction she got when people learned that instead of getting a high school diploma, she had taken the GED (General Educational Development) test, Fry said.
The drugstore job made her realize that retail wasn't a good career choice for her.
So she went to Moore Norman Technology Center and became certified as a nurse assistant.
In medical work, she discovered, “I love taking care of people any way that I could.”
Three years ago, she was accepted into OCCC's nursing program.
In the first semester, the students were required to take a class on time management. Little did Fry know how much she would need that.
She is married to Jarred Fry, an electrician. A year ago, they adopted her 6-year-old second cousin, a little girl who had been in foster care.
When she is not studying or taking care of her daughter at their home in Moore, Fry, 25, works as a nurse-apprentice at St. Anthony Hospital and as a tutor at OCCC.
She recently completed a stint as a nurse tech for The Children's Center in Bethany.
She has been offered a job in the intensive care unit at St. Anthony after graduation.
This year's graduation, when she will receive an associate degree in applied science, is a milestone on the way to her eventual goal of becoming a nurse practitioner.
“That's as far as you can take nursing,” she said.
Three more years of university classes lie ahead for her to earn the bachelor's and master's degrees she will need.
She praises her husband for his support in helping her reach her goals.
“He cares about my dreams as much as I do,” she said.
She feels proud of what she's accomplished.
“You just have to put your mind to something and decide you're going to do it.” she said.
For now, “I'm ready for everything to kind of slow down.”
And a chance to do some reading — for fun.