Building Her Confidence Through Education

Published: May 30, 2023

College of Western Idaho (CWI) student, Maganne Akins, is riding a high after walking in the 2023 Commencement Ceremony! The 17-year-old passed the General Education Development (GED) exam to earn her GED credential — a year earlier than most of her former high school classmates.

Akins is thrilled to be returning to college in the fall, this time as a Psychology student. However, her journey to reach this point in her educational career was not always a smooth one.

Prior to CWI, Akins was an honor student and a competitive soccer player in high school. However, a severe chronic illness at the beginning of her sophomore year prevented her from attending classes, participating in extracurricular activities, and even taking on schoolwork for 18 months. Because of her continued absences, Akins was eventually told she would no longer be able to remain enrolled at her high school.

“I was angry, and I felt cheated,” Akins said. “I was an honor student and had planned my high school years since I was 6. I was expecting to attend advanced placement and honors classes to receive Dual Credit, an opportunity I lost. I was heartbroken. I felt completely blindsided by their decision to withdraw me. I was entirely alienated from my class.”

However, Akins knew she could not stay down for too long. She still had plans to one day attend college, so she knew she had to resume her education to one day make that dream become a reality. After doing some research, she learned more about earning a GED and how it is the equivalent of earning a high school diploma. Thus, her CWI journey began!  

Akins enrolled in the College’s Adult Education program and started taking GED preparation courses. She was still in a recovery period when she began, so she wanted to start this new venture gently. Luckily with a supportive staff system and an independent study option, she was able to begin on the right foot and on her own terms.

“Independent study allowed me to work when I felt well and rest when I was tired. The Adult Education employees helped me with finding GED study books and online resources, and always reassured me. Without them, I would have had no idea how to go about earning a GED.”

“Maganne is bright, driven, and resilient,” said Adult Education Supervisor, Trevi Hardy. “Adult Education provided her a new, accessible pathway toward her goal of attaining a secondary credential while reminding those of us of who work in Adult Education how critical this program is. We provide the framework and tools for students to continue their educational pathway, but students do the work. I’m inspired every day by their efforts and successes. I’m very excited to see what comes next for Maganne!”

Now with a GED completion certificate in hand, Akins said it is a surreal experience to have finished high school education early. For a long time, she felt the only option she may have would be to graduate a year later than her class.

“I already felt so alone and the idea of having all my classmates move on without me was devastating.”

But thanks to CWI, Akins is now the one taking college courses as her former class finishes their senior year. She chose to continue her education at CWI so she can stay in the Treasure Valley for at least a year as her friends complete high school.

Akins’ CWI journey has helped her regain confidence in her academic ability, move on past a hard time in life, and begin to focus on the next step in her education.

“CWI gave me the power to control my own education.”

For those with questions or interested in learning more about CWI’s Adult Education and GED Preparation course, visit the Adult Education program page or contact Trevi Hardy at

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