Move On When Ready Program Provides the Foundation for One Student’s Career

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Much like the majority of 16 year-old juniors at Colquitt County High School (CCHS), Autumn Boyd had not given much thought where she wanted to be 10 years down the road. She did know, however, that her plans would include college in some capacity. Fortunately for her, CCHS had established a partnership with Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) that allowed Move On When Ready (MOWR) students (formerly dual enrollment) to explore a variety of career training options for free prior to graduating from high school.

Among the programs at her disposal were cosmetology and criminal justice. Not sure which would be the best fit, she decided to take a semester of each as a junior. It was during the second semester of her junior year that she met Tara Rakestraw, Criminal Justice Instructor and Program Chair for SRTC.

“Honestly, before I met Mrs. Rakestraw and developed the relationship with her that I have now, I really didn’t know which direction to go. Her passion for the program and her students made me fall in love with criminal justice, which led me toward a career in this field,” commented Boyd.

Upon graduating high school with her Criminal Justice Technical Certificate of Credit, Boyd knew she would like to complete her Associate of Science in the program.

“The Move On When Ready program allowed me to develop a thorough understanding of the program and gave me enough knowledge of what was to come that I was certain it was what I wanted to do once I graduated. In addition, the cost savings of being able to take many of program classes for free while in high school were a tremendous benefit and significantly impacted my decision to pursue this career,” commented Boyd.

Boyd completed her Criminal Justice degree program in August, but was offered a job as a case manager for the Superior Drug Treatment Court a month before she had even satisfied her degree requirements, no doubt a testimony to her thorough knowledge of the court system and superior intellect. As for the next step in her academic and professional career, Boyd says she is in the process of completing an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies and will then attend Thomas University in Thomasville, GA for to complete her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. She hopes to stay with the court system as long as possible and desires to one day move into an advanced role with managerial duties.

“Autumn is a wonderful student. She is eager to learn and is always seeking new and better ways to increase her knowledge. While enrolled in my classes as a high school student, she developed several goals for herself. She was determined to graduate from SRTC with her degree in Criminal Justice, obtain a job in field with our court system, and continue her education. I am proud to say she has met and exceeded each of those goals and I know she will continue to surpass each benchmark she sets for herself. She is an accomplished young woman with a bright future and I am incredibly proud to have been given the opportunity to assist her with her journey,” commented Rakestraw.

To learn more about the Move On When Ready program at Southern Regional Technical College contact Dana Brooks (, Laura Kelly (, Mandy Ponder (, or Missy Stanaland (

SRTC offers over 148 degree, diploma, and certificate programs that are designed to get you quickly into your desired career, and 27 general education courses that transfer to the University System of Georgia institutions and 19 private colleges and universities in Georgia. SRTC has instructional sites located in Ashburn, Cairo, Camilla, Moultrie, Thomasville, Tifton, and Sylvester for the convenience of our students. The College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). SACSCOC is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. For the most up-to-date information on registration, class dates, and program offerings, log on to or call (888) 205 – 3449.