First generation Barton Community College student on fast track to a bright future

CTE Month 2019: This feature is part of Barton Community College’s celebration of Career Technical Education (CTE) Month.

CTE Month® is an annual celebration held in February of CTE community members’ achievements and accomplishments nationwide. CTE Month 2019, with its tagline of "Celebrate Today, Own Tomorrow!" gives colleges the chance to inform others of the innovation and excellence that exists within our local CTE programs and raise awareness of the crucial role that CTE plays in readying our students for careers and our nation for economic success.


February 6, 2019
Story and portrait by Brandon Steinert

Great Bend High School senior Mikyla Meza is driven to attain a meaningful career and a life of stability and self-sufficiency, because she has lived the alternative. Her family moved frequently early in her life, up to twice a year, because of challenging living conditions. Her family finally settled down in Great Bend when she was in the fifth grade.

“My mom noticed how (moving) was affecting us,” she said, which led to her mother securing a stable job and a house. “I want to be stable in my life. I don’t want to struggle.”

Taking steps to ensure her future is secure, she already earned her Certified Nurse Aide credential and completed a college phlebotomy course through Barton Community College. She will soon complete her Certified Medication Aide course, and has begun completing her general education requirements, setting her up to start her college pursuits ahead of the game when she graduates in May.

Meza is balancing her aggressive approach to education with serving as varsity captain of the women’s soccer team and participates in community service opportunities, but she hasn’t done it all alone. She received help and support from mentors in the community, who offered her general encouragement and guidance, and also in tangible ways like helping her pay for books. Her instructors from Park Elementary School also still keep tabs on Meza and offer their support.

She hasn’t set a specific career path quite yet, as she wants to explore and keep her options open. She is interested in a variety of fields, including EMS, detective work and psychology. Her favorite option is to serve as a Forensic Interviewer for cases involving young children. A person in such a profession would be tasked with asking children about traumatic incidents and document them.

“I know how the world can be sometimes,” she said. “If I can make it better for the kids, then that’s a start.”

She isn’t ruling out a career in nursing, either. Barton’s programs in License Practical Nurse and Registered Nurse are well established with solid reputations.

She discovered the opportunities at Barton and her list of potential careers as part of a class at GBHS called JAG-K, which helps students explore education and career options after high school.

Regardless of her end goal, she said Barton is the next step after graduating.

“I think it’s great that we have so many options for kids to do whatever they want here in Barton County,” she said. “It’s giving me a head start so I don’t have to be in college for four years.”

Meza said her experience at Barton has been high quality thanks in large part to the dedication of the college employees and the personal attention from her instructors.

She will also enjoy the financial advantage of having attended Barton while in high school. Thanks to her qualification as a recipient of free and reduced lunches, combined with a state program called Excel in CTE which provides career technical education courses free of charge, Meza has only paid about $150 for everything she has attained through Barton.

Barton Nursing Application Deadline

While the priority deadline to apply to Barton’s nursing program has passed, a secondary deadline means there is still time to secure a spot in the 2019-2020 academic year.

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