The Hall-Fontenette family has a lot to celebrate. Three of them are graduating from Centralia College programs this year!
For Dana and Michelle Hall-Fontenette and their son Dimitri, June 2015 marks the end of an unusual family journey: all three of them attended school on the Centralia College campus at the same time. Soon they will be sharing the same graduation year.
“It was interesting to have all of us at home together doing homework. There were times that were stressful, but we were able to help each other,” shared Dana Hall-Fontenette, father of the family, who finished up his AA in the Medical Administrative Assistant program this past March.
Dana started at Centralia College back in 2012 after being laid off at Cardinal Glass and entering the worker retraining program. Although he originally started in the Medical Assistant program, he had to withdraw due to medical reasons. Once recovered, he found that he was too far behind to continue onto the second year. He decided instead to transition into the Medical Administrative Assistant program. It was a challenge to change career paths, but Dana is excited to start looking for work opportunities where he can use his degree to help people.
Dana’s wife Michelle completed her GED at Centralia College in June 2012 and started classes at CC shortly after. After taking last year off from school to work, she returned this year and will complete her AA in general studies with a focus on psychology and sign language in June. Currently working for the Chehalis School District as a bus driver, Michelle hopes to one day continue her studies and pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.
Across campus in the TEEN program, the Hall-Fontenette’s son Dimitri has been attending classes at the same time as his dad and mom. He plans to graduate with his high school diploma this June. “The people at the TEEN program were awesome!” said Mikah, Dimitri’s older sister, who graduated from the TEEN program last year. She especially enjoyed her experiences in culinary class and out at the farm.
With three of them in school, life got a little crazy at times. “Our house looked like a library—papers all over the place. It was like one big study session with all of us trying to do projects,” laughed Dana. But he believes that doing school together actually made it easier for all of them. When asked to share the best part of their experience at Centralia College, Dana answered without hesitation: “The family all together.”