Martinez looks to the future after earning high school diploma from Blue Ridge Community College


BRCC News | Published January 14, 2020

Portrait of Maria Martinez

Maria Martinez, a recent graduate of Blue Ridge’s Adult High School (AHS) equivalency program, is proud to have earned her high school diploma in Dec. 2019, and is considering continuing her education at the College to work toward her CNA.

The 21-year-old is a former student of Rosman High School and is currently a Personal Care Assistant (PCA). She grew up in the Lake Toxaway region of Transylvania County, and was blessed with a mother from Tennessee and a father of Mexican heritage.

She said she initially considered Blue Ridge to earn her high school diploma because of her proximity to the College’s Transylvania County Campus.

“It’s really close to where I live, and Blue Ridge was very flexible with my work schedule,” she said. “Plus, it’s great that they offer online courses, which helped me immensely.”

She admitted she’s not sure how she’d have graduated without Blue Ridge’s online course offerings, and praised the level of understanding her instructors showed her throughout her time there.

The AHS program offers all coursework required for students to obtain a 22-credit adult high school diploma. The program is open to anyone who determines this pathway is best for them regardless of age, location or the number of high school credits completed.

Since her time at Rosman, Martinez had heard good things about the College, and said its courses were eye-opening, and really displayed the sheer amount of work needed for a high school diploma.

One Blue Ridge faculty member she wanted to thank was Program Coordinator Shawn McMurray, who was always willing to lend a helping hand whenever Martinez needed one.

Despite her achievements, she confessed she was incredibly nervous at her graduation ceremony, but was also proud and excited to be completing that chapter in her life.

“It was really cool to finish this right before the New Year. I feel so accomplished,” she added.

While she doesn’t plan on immediately registering for Spring 2020 classes, Martinez is strongly considering returning in the near future to begin work toward a degree as a CNA.

“I’m thinking about another online class, because I just got the Blue Ridge course catalog in the mail, and I’ve already seen some interesting classes,” she said.

Martinez offered a bit of encouragement to high school graduates unsure of where to go for their next steps in life.

“Blue Ridge is the perfect option. It’s a great size, it’s affordable and it offers quality education for students of all backgrounds,” she added.

For anyone interested in learning more about Blue Ridge programs such as the AHS program, visit