You are here
Home > Community > Jumper receives high school diploma with son

Jumper receives high school diploma with son

Joyce Jumper, left, with her son Corey Jumper. (Courtesy photo)

Joyce Jumper grew up on the Brighton Reservation and started working when she was 15. Life circumstances pushed her to leave high school, so she thought she’d try to earn a GED certificate. It didn’t happen, and time marched on, with work, family and many other life responsibilities.

Now 59, Jumper is a participant in the Education Department’s Work Experience Program (WEP), and recently earned her high school diploma from Penn Foster – an online high school that’s designed for non-traditional students.

Through WEP, Jumper has been a receptionist in the Brighton Education office since August 2022. She helps K-12 and higher education students with educational support and services.

“I just kept seeing these people walking in and talking about furthering their education and getting their diplomas,” Jumper said. “I said, there’s something wrong with this picture.”

Jumper said she went to Martha Santibanez, the K-12 adviser for Brighton and Fort Pierce, to talk about how she could earn her diploma.

“I had previously worked with Joyce when it came to her son Corey, providing him educational services. But it wasn’t until after she started working in our office that I got to see how amazing she is,” Santibanez said. “I understand it was kind of scary going back to school after all those years, but she was motivated to show her son that it could be done.”

Corey Jumper, 18, also recently earned his high school diploma through Penn Foster.

“We kind of made a deal,” Jumper said. “I started a couple months before him, but we finished at the same time. It was like a friendly competition – we laughed about it.”

Jumper said anytime she had a free moment, she’d log on to her computer and work toward completing the required courses.

“You’re never too old, you just have to set your mind to it,” she said.

Jumper said her son is now working with Robert Weekly, a higher education academic and career adviser, to plot out his next steps in an education or career path.

Mother and son are scheduled to be recognized at a graduation ceremony in Brighton on June 1 at the Florida Seminole Veterans Building.

“I am so happy that she had trust in us and that not once did she think about giving up. She is amazing,” Santibanez said.

Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at