Nothing Left Unfinished: Duluth woman obtains diploma after decade worth of work

Emily Ness
Updated: April 11, 2021 10:32 PM
Created: April 11, 2021 06:27 PM

“I would advise them to try and keep trying until they succeed at what they want to do in life.”

These words of encouragement for anyone working towards a dream from Stephanie Hutchins, a Duluth woman who obtained her diploma after ten years of trying.

“I believe I started in 2010 and now it’s 2021,” Hutchins said. “It took me quite a while.”

Hutchins was born with cerebral palsy and a learning disability after a stroke in the womb. Statistically, the odds were stacked against her.

“They gave me a five percent chance to live,” Hutchins said.

But throughout her life, Hutchins remained determined, while facing the obstacles her disabilities brought on and continually looked at the big picture.

“Growing up, I kind of felt like maybe I was the only one who had gone through all of it, but I know I wasn't,” Hutchins said.

Hutchins first attended Central High School, but eventually ended up at Historic Old Central where the Adult Learning Center is located. It was there that she passed her high school equivalency exam after at least a dozen attempts and a decade worth of work paid off.

“I'm happy to be where I'm at,” Hutchins said.

Happy for sure, but the 38-year-old mother of three is not done yet. She said she hopes to go to college, get a degree and open her own business.

“I want to be able to do a diner—even just a little food truck or a resort—something simple so that way, my children are financially set in the future,” Hutchins said.

Hutchins hopes her story of never giving up inspires others to continue chasing their dreams.

“Even if you are in a wheel chair or something of that sort, you can still do anything else that anyone who has the capability can—you just need to put your mind to it,” Hutchins said.


Emily Ness

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