Reading, writing, and arithmetic. Commonly known as the three Rs, children begin to learn these basic skills the minute they start school. But imagine if you never went to school, and never learned how to read or write. That’s how Liz Driml went through life—that is until she decided to earn a GED utilizing free courses offered at College of Western Idaho (CWI). Five years and one scholarship later, she is steadily working her way toward completing CWI’s Heavy-Equipment Technician program.
“I come from a unique background where I didn’t go to grade school, and I didn’t want to be left behind,” she said. “The only way to get where I wanted was to get a GED. Employers won’t hire you without an education, so your options are limited.”
Her goal of obtaining a GED quickly turned into the goal of earning a two-year degree. She chose the Diesel Technology program because the professional-technical education path would provide her with the structure she needs. She also says it will also support her goal of owning her own beef cattle business in the future.
“I grew up on a dairy farm which led me to fall in love with agriculture,” she said. “My parents own a farm and I have been around cattle all of my life.”
To help pay for her education, Liz sold around 20 head of cattle from her own herd. She also received a scholarship through the CWI Foundation from the Nampa Industrial Corporation. It helped her pay for the tools she needed for her classes.
“The opportunity for receiving this scholarship has been such an awarding experience for me,” she said. “It alleviates some of my financial worries, and allows me to spend time focusing on my studies.”
Liz recently finished the first year of her program and received her Heavy-Equipment Technician certification. She begins the home stretch to receiving her associate degree this fall.
“I feel a great sense of accomplishment in what I have been able to achieve so far,” she said. “I’ve spent a lot of time going to office hours and tutoring. I’ve had to convince myself to take it one step at a time, and that is what I’m doing.”
In addition to her studies, Liz is active in CWI’s Art Club and choir. She looks for opportunities to interact with her classmates and peers to improve her growth socially.