Courtesy Photo
Debra Bunch, dressed in her ‘graduation whites’ attire, visits the Catholic Charities Center for Community Learning and Advancement in Huntington to celebrate her newly earned Licensed Practical Nurse diploma.

The story of Debra Bunch is not very different from many of our adult learners. Debra dropped out of high school during her sophomore year. In the following years, Debra said feelings of “not being smart enough or good enough” to obtain higher education plagued her mind.
At Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa), we recognize that serving adults seeking to further their education is not as simple as it may seem. We must meet the unique needs of adult learners, who often face significant barriers to furthering their education.
Therefore, our Catholic Charities adult learning centers follow a holistic approach, blending traditional adult education and career planning with comprehensive case management to help learners reach their education and employment goals.
After being in and out of General Education Development (GED) programs for years, Debra made one final push, and in 2016 she enrolled at our Catholic Charities Center for Community Learn- ing and Advancement (CCLA) in Huntington.
Debra studied hard under the tutelage of our adult education instructors, and she made many sacrifices to prioritize learning while juggling other responsibilities.
In 2018, Debra finally passed the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) exam and earned her High School Equivalency (HSE) diploma! She also earned several professional certifications during her time studying at our CCLA.
Debra’s HSE diploma and certifications enabled her to become employed with St. Mary’s Medical Center. Furthermore, her newfound confidence inspired her to pursue a career in nursing and enroll in the Licensed Practical Nurse program at the Cabell Career Technology Center.
“We know one of the greatest gifts a person can have is a good education and job skills training,” said Beth Zarate, CCWVa Chief Executive Officer. “A good education provides the foundation for a promising and secure future and a stable life.”
In May of 2020, Debra visited our CCLA to share that she had just received her Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) certification. Debra expressed her gratitude to our CCLA team for setting her on her career path and helping her reach her goals. She plans to apply for admission into St. Mary’s Registered Nurse (RN) program in the near future.
Debra cites encouragement from family, adult education instructors, and her faith in God as motivating forces to help her achieve her education goals. She encourages others with self-doubt to “push forward and never settle for less.”
To learn more about Catholic Charities West Virginia, visit www.Catholic
The Mission of Catholic Charities West Virginia: Guided by God’s love, Catholic Charities collaborates with community partners, parishes and families to provide caring and compassionate services to people in need and work toward lasting and meaningful change.