Breaking the Cycle in My Family By Placing a Value on Education

Last Updated by Gloria Turner on

“I am a first generation college graduate,” said Ivy Tech Student Gloria Turner. However, becoming a college graduate has not been an easy road for her.

Turner quit high school at the age of 15, as did her mother and grandmother. Education was never valued in her family, even though she excelled, there was just no urgency for her to graduate. However, Turner decided to enroll at the Excel Center, an adult high school which gives adult students the opportunity to get a diploma, instead of a GED.  She only had 5 high school credits, but through the Excel Center’s accelerated program, and their online classes, Turner was able to graduate high school in 7-1/2 months.

That was in 2013. A lot has happened since then.

Turner enrolled at Ivy Tech as an online student, but there were minor setbacks in getting acclimated to the rigors of college and working. She wasn’t able to perform the first couple of semesters as she would like, and there were some personal problems that required her to drop out for a while. When she came back to college, she came back strong taking 12 credit hours. She thrived thereafter, making the Dean’s list twice.  Turner really wanted to become involved in the college culture, so she joined Phi Theta Kappa, and held the office of Vice President.  She also served as the Community Service Chair for the National Society of Leadership and Success, a Senator for the Student Government Association, and was a member of Kappa Beta Delta (the business honor society). Turner is also a Bowen scholar (criteria is that a student be African American and have at least 6 college credits, write an essay, and go before an interview panel), and a 21st Century Scholars (criteria is to be an Indiana resident graduating with a Core 40 high school diploma)

Turner stated that “being involved in these organizations inspired me to volunteer in organizations other than school.”  So, over the summer Turner volunteered for more than 200 community service hours and received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, which is an international award.  She has two sons, ages nine and 18 months. Because of her volunteer efforts her son now wants to also give back to the community and will be volunteering at the Children’s Museum.

Turner’s goal at Ivy Tech was to do well academically and prove to herself and her family that she could complete college.  She is also determined to be an example to her son’s and teach them the value of an education and giving back to the community.

She was inspired to give back to her community while attending high school.  She had a life coach that helped her.  Life coaches usually carry approximately 70 – 80 students on a case load.  They help students overcome barriers that will eventually help them obtain industry based certifications, college enrollment, and sustainable incomes, said Turner.  This inspired Turner to become a life coach with a caseload of 81 students. 

As if this student wasn’t busy enough, through Facebook, friends suggested that Turner run for Miss Indiana Plus 2017, so she did.  And, she won!  She is currently Miss Indiana Plus 2017, and in July of 2017, Turner will participate in the National pageant. If she wins she will become Miss America Plus Elite.  Turner is going to utilize her platform as Miss Indiana Plus to promote the cause she is passionate about using the acronym ALERT “Adult Learners Educated Restored and Transformed.” Turner has a real vision. Her dream career is to own her own 501(c)3 organization that will connect non-traditional students in higher education with resources to remove barriers. 

Turner has been accepted at IUPUI, and will be majoring in Political Science and minoring in Visual Communications.  She shared a quote by Maya Angelou that she said has carried her through, “Do the best you can until you know better, then when you know better, you do better.” Maya Angelou


gloria turner headshot.jpg Gloria was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and spent most of her younger years in Fontana, California. She is the second youngest of six children born to a single mother.  When she was twelve years old she moved back to Indianapolis. Education was never a major focus in her household and there was never any pressure to go to school. She came from a family of three generations of single mother high school dropouts. At the age of 26, Gloria returned back to high school and earned her high school diploma. Having a child of her own, she wanted to change and break the cycle by going back to school and pursuing higher education. She enrolled at Ivy Tech Community College and majored in human services.  She is now working as a life coach at an adult high school making an impact on individual’s lives each day.

Blog entry was written by Maureen May of Ivy Tech Community College.


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