Evening & Weekend Studies

Winter 2010 Stories

Second Chances

EWS Alumna Gets a New Start with a New Career

By Neal Jensen

Jill Story Image
Jill Story

Jill Story is an excellent role model for anyone wishing to re-enter the education system and earn a degree. Like many people, Story didn’t end up where she wanted to be earlier in life. “Right out of high school I had a desire to be a probation officer for kids. It’s funny how things happen in your life—it’s like you come to a stop sign and have a choice of taking a left or a right,” recalls Story, 41. “A friend of mine was a worker in a machine shop, and I ended up working there for four years. I lost my job because of a plant closure. Then I applied to the brewery in Tumwater, and worked there for 12 years as a mechanic. When it closed, I decided that this was my opportunity to go back to school and do what I really wanted 20-some years ago.”

Story took classes at South Puget Sound Community College, then transferred to Evening and Weekend Studies at Evergreen. “When I started, I took an introductory writing class because I knew I’d be doing a lot of writing,” she says. “I took Spanish because I wanted to be able to speak it fluently. After the first quarter I went on to take psychology, philosophy, statistics and criminal justice classes as well.”

Story earned a bachelor of arts through Evening and Weekend Studies and currently works for the Thurston County Prosecutor’s office as a legal assistant. This position, as well as community service work with at-risk youth, has allowed her to fulfill her desire to work with juvenile offenders—trying to help them get on the right track through alternatives to incarceration, such as community service, education and empowerment workshops, and drug and alcohol evaluation. “These activities hold them accountable,” Story explains. “They are not about punishment—they’re about rehabilitation. We’re also hoping to teach them right from wrong and to think about the choices they make in the future.”