Shenika Tate I Best Graduate DSC9803
Shenika Tate

Press Release                                                                                        

Date: November 4, 2022

Contact: Lisa Garrett,

(By Lisa Garrett)

I-BEST Program Leads to Life Purpose for Shenika Tate

PENDLETON, SC – As 30-year-old Shenika Tate stood before the mirror dressed in her graduation regalia, just hours before she was to receive her Patient Care Aide certificate during summer commencement, she reflected on memories of how destructive behavior during her adolescence and into adulthood nearly derailed her future. But those thoughts soon turned to feelings of gratitude and pride to be on track and ready to serve as a role model for her children.

“It’s amazing how my life has changed for the better,” she said.

Fifteen years after she dropped out of high school, Tate finally earned her GED from Anderson County 3, 4 and 5 Adult Education Center in July of 2022 and in August graduated with a 4.0 GPA through TCTC’s I-BEST program.

The I-BEST program is designed to increase the College’s focus on unemployed and underemployed populations. It is a one-semester program that allows students to explore careers in manufacturing, health care or a stand-alone course for college and career exploration opportunities. The program offers opportunities to earn college credit and national (industry-recognized) skill certifications. There is no cost for the I-BEST program.

It wasn’t an easy road for Tate and it took years to discover her potential. “Over the years, I lost friends, I lost opportunities, and I lost myself.  But it feels good to shed those burdens and mistakes and know that I’m on a better path for me and my family,” she said.

Tate said she started out a good student and had dreams of being a teacher or lawyer but distractions caught her attention. “I became a product of my environment,” she said. “I got in with the wrong crowd and began taking drugs.  I was blinded by big things.” She was expelled from school four times by the time she was a freshman. She attended other public and private schools but she was expelled again and never went back. “My mother never gave up on me,” she said. Tate started studying for her GED but wasn’t ready and began hanging with the old crowd and was in and out of jail. “It destroyed the true me,” she said. 

She vividly remembers the day the cycle was broken. A physical altercation resulted in her final incarceration. “I heard my baby crying for me from the car as I was being handcuffed. That’s what changed my life. That helped me find the old Shenika, the straight-A student. I apologized to my mother and said thank you. From now on I will be the kind of mother you have been for me.”

She worked full time to support her daughter and began studying for the GED.  She was reunited with her boyfriend when he was released from prison and they welcomed a son in 2020. “I had just turned 30 and still had no high school diploma,” said Tate.  She entered I-BEST still needing the final math GED test. She had previously taken it the maximum amount of times allowed but was given special permission to take it once more on the day of adult education graduation. She passed it that day and graduated that night, and finished all her final projects for I-BEST in the two to three weeks that followed, earning all A’s. “The I-BEST staff and instructors were supportive, caring and nurturing. They had a great impact on me,” she said. 

“I’ve found my purpose. I’ve become more spiritual and aware,” she said.  Tate now is a personal development mindset coach through her business UpRising Queens and Kings. “I want to impact and inspire youth. My life has changed in the last year. You can make a complete transformation.  This summer I graduated, closed on a home four days later and entered TCTC’s Early Care and Education program this fall.  I’m thankful and grateful for the support of my classmates and instructors.  I won’t fail one more time.” 

About Tri-County Technical College

Tri-County Technical College, a public two-year community and technical college serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina, enrolls more than 9,000 students annually and offers more than 70 major fields of study, including computer technology, industrial electronics, mechatronics, nursing, and university transfer programs. Tri-County boasts the highest student success rate among two-year colleges in the state and ranks in the top one percent nationally for successful student transfers to four-year colleges and universities. To learn more, visit