Posted by Communications Department at 3/31/2016
After two tours in Iraq and Bosnia, Shelby Hadley, a former Area Learning Center (ALC) student and 1997 Apollo graduate, has found her passion and niche as a vocational rehabilitation specialist for the St. Cloud Veteran’s Hospital.
Her primary responsibility is to assess veterans returning from deployment in order to transition them into suitable programs and jobs. She is able to help them with mock interviews, resume writing and job searches.
“After I finished my four-year degree, I wanted to work with my heart,” Hadley says. “My passion is truly with vets.”
Looking back at her high school years with District 742, she feels as though she came into her own self.
“I loved school!” Hadley exclaims.
However, Hadley followed an atypical road to success. While in high school, she gave birth to a son and joined the Alternative Learning Program where she met then (and ongoing) mentor, Tami DeLand, currently the Director of Community Engagement and Communications for District 742. She attributes much of her success to DeLand.
“Tami went above and beyond. She started a journal writing club for the students. She’d even order in food to get the kids to stay and get them engaged,” remembers Hadley.
She also reflects that Jacob Wetterling was in her class and says his disappearance deeply affected her. At a very young age, she realized that life can change in an instant.
To get through her early life challenges, she relied on the knowledge that people believed in her and supported her. She is quick to say that it was not only family, but also school and community members who supported her.
She’ll also be the first to tell you that she likes to rise to challenges.
Hadley says, “There were bets on when I’d come home from basic training. Knowing that made me stay [in training] longer. Kids don’t understand that you can fail. I’ve failed, but you just keep going. That’s what gets you to your success.”
As Hadley’s grown older, that sense of community support is still strong. She volunteers with her children’s PTA, the Humanities Center in Minneapolis and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. She also continues her work with veterans and can’t imagine doing anything else.
5-Star applause for this Apollo graduate, veteran and community supporter!