Jasper Smith Plans to Weld After Obtaining his High School Equivalency at OFTC

OFTC Adult Education student, Jasper Smith, is on his way to completing earning his high school equivalency so he can enroll in the college's Welding and Joining Technology program.

He was in the eighth grade when his interest was sparked by welding. And ever since then, Jasper Smith knew he wanted to pursue it as a career one day.

After transitioning into high school, Smith started to get behind due to circumstances in his life. His heart wasn’t in it anymore, but he kept hanging on because he wanted to make his mom proud. And because he wanted to weld.

“Welding is very interesting to me because you are putting two or more pieces of metal together with electricity,” Smith said. “It takes skill and is not something that anybody can just do – it takes concentration.”

But he became discouraged with his education. “I was a year and a half behind in school and I started talking with someone at my church who is an instructor at OFTC, and he told me about my options for getting my high school equivalency,” Smith shared.

“I took two days to think about it and decided I would go for it,” he added. “I signed myself out of school and joined the Adult Education program at OFTC.”

When Smith started his adult education classes, he was surprised to find instructors who were intentional and willing to help him and his classmates understand the lessons.

OFTC Adult Education student, Jasper Smith, working with instructor, Cecila Swanson to complete his high school equivalency.
OFTC Adult Education student, Jasper Smith, working with instructor, Cecila Swanson to complete his high school equivalency.

“In class we talk about what we struggle with, not just the next lesson,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if half the class understands the concept or just one person, we practice until everyone gets what we are going over.”

“You can also work at your own pace,” he added. “It might take you two weeks to get your GED or two years – it all depends on your own pace, not the pace of the teacher.”

While Smith had planned to be the first in his family to graduate from high school, he’s pursuing his High School Equivalency (HSE) with the same zeal to make his mom proud.

“My experience in OFTC’s Adult Education program has been great, and if anyone says they want to further their education by getting their GED, I say they should come to OFTC because they can work as fast as they need to,” Smith said.

Smith is already excelling in his adult education classes, and recently passed the math portion of the GED Exam.

“Jasper takes initiative and shows a sincere interest in learning,” shared Cecila Swanson, an OFTC Adult Education instructor. “Since passing the math portion of the GED, he has been promoted to Teacher’s Assistant on math days. He is always willing to help prepare materials and is excited about helping other students who are struggling with math to understand the content.”

“Jasper is respectful and is considerate of others,” Swanson added. “He has been a pleasure to have in class and other students value his assistance.”

Smith plans to obtain his High School Equivalency and then enroll in the college’s welding program.

“I just want my mom and some other people in my life to be proud of me,” Smith said. “I also want to show anybody that says a GED is not as good as a high school diploma that they are wrong.”

To learn more about OFTC’s Adult Education Program and earning a HSE diploma, visit the college’s website, OFTC.edu.

OFTC offers adult education classes at 17 sites in 11 counties, and offers day, evening, and online class options for students interested in obtaining their HSE. There are also 130+ credit programs of study available at OFTC, many in high demand fields that guarantee a job after graduation.


Smith successfully passed each section of the GED Exam to obtain his High School Equivalency Diploma on June 9, 2022.