Tucker Center Alumni Success Stories

  • Check here often for updates on former Tucker Center students, where they are, what they are doing, and how the Tucker Center helped them get there.  We are SO proud of these students and hope to hear from many more!

    Craig Larsen - TJHS Class of 2010

    Craig Larsen graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 2010.  He attended University of Nebraska in Omaha in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree.  After freshman year, he decided to take a break from his studies and joined the Navy.  He was sworn in April of 2012 as a Cryptologic Technician.  His first duty station was at the Office of Naval Intelligence where I authorized intelligence products in support of international topics of interest.  His second and current duty stations is at Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC), Whidbey Island, where he deploys wherever he is needed to provide our forces and decision makers with maritime command and control tactical analysis.

    He joined the Navy partly because he was unsure of what he wanted to do for a career and he wanted a change.  Since joining, his job has been very demanding but rewarding.  He has completed training with several Department of Defence organizations that will translate to certifications and prerequisites for jobs in the civilian sector.  

    Craig's biggest advice for current and future Tucker Center students is to take college seriously and 'don't give up!'  He says you will probably mess up from time to time and become overwhelmed, but you will be fine as long as you're constantly working on some way to take another step forward and make progress toward your goals.  

    Craig is grateful for the head start that the Health Science classes at Tucker Center provided him.  He had advanced training and knowledge that gave him a huge advantage in his studies.  Friends and memories that he made at Tucker Center are some of his best memories from High School.  Getting involved with HOSA leadership was one of the first leaps that he took to break himself out of a box.  He shared that he continues to apply the leadership skills that he learned at Tucker Center, whether it's briefing Junior Sailors or Admirals.


    Craig Larson - TJHS Class of 2010


    Double Feature

    Loren (Hemiller) Hertz - TJHS Class of 2015

    Skyler Hertz - ALHS Class of 2013

    Loren took Health Science at Tucker Center.  At that time she planned on going into Healthcare/nursing career field but then switched to Business.  After graduating from TJHS in 2015, she attended Briar Cliff University where she played a year of soccer.  She transferred from Briar Cliff to Bellevue University where an injury prevented her from continuing her soccer career.  After a year at Bellevue, I was unable to find an applicable major for herself, so she decided to step back, focus more on a career and start her family.  A year later she got married, bought a house and had an amazing baby boy.  Loren currently works full time at Securities America where she is a broker dealer and is studying to take her Series 7 exam which will help get her foot in the door for the Financial Industry.  Her career keeps advancing and she is very happy with how everything turned out.  She plans on finish college, so her children have two parents who finished college, as well as continuing to advance in her career.

    Skyler took Automotive classes at Tucker Center which really helped his future.  After graduating from ALHS in 2013 he went on to IWCC and graduated in 2015 with his degree as an automotive technician.  He is currently taking more online classes to become Diesel Certified.  Skyler works for Woodhouse Auto Center, Nissan in LaVista NE.  Next year, his goal is to start his own business buying and flipping cars.  Tucker Center really set Skyler on the path to his career and is very grateful for that.

    Skyler, Loren, Hudson Hertz Skyler, Hudson, Loren Hertz


    ALHS 2011 graduate - Michaela Kennedy

    After High School, I started on my biology degree in hopes I would go to medical school.  I played college volleyball at Morningside College.  After two years, I transferred to a small school in Kansas, Midamerica Nazarene University.  I continued playing volleyball and studying biology.  In 2016, I graduated with my biology degree from MNU and moved back to Council Bluffs.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do, as my goal to go to medical school had changed.  I found the Methodist accelerated program, enrolled, got accepted and started in January 2018 and am about five months from being an RN!!!

    I never dreamed how the Tucker Center classes would prepare me for what my future career would be.  However, I fully believe the Tucker Center classes put me ahead of the curve when it came to patient care and health science courses throughout my schooling.  Going to Tucker Center and taking classes only made my love for learning and enjoyment of being at school increase.  

    "Tucker Center allowed us to seem like adults in a school setting, being able to be independent was huge for me throughout my high school years and was a great learning tool I still use today.  However, I have to say the best part about Tucker Center is the staff!  Always a smiling face, someone to check in on us, people to keep us in line, but most importantly the biggest cheerleaders helping us further our education and reach our dreams"

    Michael Kennedy with her parents at her Pinning ceremony.

    ALHS 2015 graduate - Macee Perry

    Macee Perry completed the Health Science Academy classes taught at Tucker Center and is currently in the Nursing Program at Iowa Western Community College.  Macee has shared the following with me:

    Since I graduated in 2015 from Abraham Lincoln High School, I have worked at Bethany Lutheran Nursing Home and from there I received my Medication Aide certificate through IWCC.  I continue to work as a Med Aide and attend IWCC pursuing my Nursing degree.

    Tucker Center started me on my exciting journey into healthcare with the Health Science and CNA courses.  The Health Science course reinforced my interest in becoming a Nurse Practitioner after we learned more about each health care profession.  The CNA course started me on my path to the healthcare world.  I wouldn't change it for anything.  I enjoyed every second learning about the responsibilities of a CNA and the impact these healthcare workers provide for all their patients.  I didn't realize how much knowledge and experience I would gain from being a CNA for 3 years and a CMA for 2 years.  These accomplishments gave me alot of helpful knowledge with heading into my first year as a nursing student.  My final goal is to become a Nurse Practioner.

    We wish Macee all the best as she continues her healthcare career education and look forward to seeing all that she will accomplish in the future!

    Macee P. Nursing student



    TJHS 2013 graduate - Emily Dickerson

    Emily Dickerson excelled in the Exploring Teaching class she took at Tucker Center during the 2011-2012 school year.  She also took other classes with Mrs. Hanigan while at Tucker Center.  Emily finished and earned her Master's degree in Occupational Therapy from College of Saint Mary on May 20, 2018.  She will be sitting for the board exam in August 2018 after which she will be qualified to have an Occupational Therapist license.  She plans on moving to Arizona and getting a job soon thereafter.  Keeping shining bright Emily!

    Update:  Emily successfully completed the license and is officially, Emily Dickerson, OTR.  CONGRATULATIONS!!!

      Emily Dickerson - Master's Degree




    Iowa Western culinary team judged best at IPPA contest

    Abraham Lincoln High School graduates, Katelynn Hunter-Mullen (’12) and Jennifer Christensen (’15) and former Culinary students of Mrs. Charm Smith at Tucker Center were part of the winning team at the 2017 Iowa Pork Producers Association’s, Student Taste of Elegance competition on March 6, 2017.

    Here is the link for the entire article.

    Culinary Team finishes first at IPPA contest

    Congratulations girls!!!


    Aaron Mefferd, TJHS alumni had the opportunity to interview a cast member from Breaking Bad for one of his classes he is taking at Northwest Missouri State.

     Click here to view the video


    KayAnn Whitten, TJHS alumni, having one of her many (delicious) meals photographed  KayAnn Whitten, TJHS alumni, having one of her many (delicious) meals photographed

    KayAnn Whitten, TJHS alumni, having one of her many (delicious) meals photographed during her Iowa Western Community College culinary classes.

    Nick Carman, TJHS alumni,

    Nick Carman earns fist quarter dean's list