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MAACE 2022
Student of the Year

Sebastian Mejia
Northeast Mississippi Community College

Congratulations to MAACE Student of the Year, Sebastian Mejia! Sebastian had dropped out of high school in the 10th grade for personal reasons. A couple of years later, he came to the NEMCC Adult Education office in Ripley to earn the HSE Diploma and prepare himself for college/career. Adult education instructor, Shawn Davis, counseled with him and suggested that he enroll in the Smart Start Course, Adult Education Class, and Gateway Youth Program.

While in the Smart Start Class, Sebastian completed the career interest survey and it confirmed his previous interest in culinary arts. Therefore, he decided to pursue an education degree in the culinary arts. Sebastian earned his Smart Start Credential with Mrs. Jaclyn Meeks and was well on his way to earning his HSE.

In the Gateway Youth Program, Sebastian learned about work ethics and work readiness. His Gateway Career Coach placed him in an internship program working at Rip Jax Mercantile so that he could understand what it takes to own and operate a business. Owner, Stone White, involved Sebastian in all aspects of operating a small business. Sebastian excelled as an employee and was retained as a permanent and full-time employee. Sebastian hopes this experience in entrepreneurship will one day help him start his own business.

After completing the Smart Start course, Sebastian enrolled in the Adult Education Class to continue with his educational plans. He attended AE classes in the mornings and worked at the mercantile in the afternoons and weekends. Sebastian earned his GED/HSE, completed the ACT, and enrolled in the culinary arts program at NEMCC for the 2022 fall semester. Sebastian hopes to one day open a bakery specializing in ethnic desserts.