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Saraya Baker

Saraya Baker is getting an early start on her road to helping others for a living thanks to the Certificate Advancement Program at Iowa Western Community College.

Baker, 17, was born and raised in Council Bluffs and is a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School. She attended Franklin Elementary School and Wilson Middle School before arriving at T.J.

Earlier this week, Baker was spotted in a nursing class at Iowa Western’s Clark Hall. Baker is part of the Certificate Advancement Program, which allows Council Bluffs Schools juniors and seniors a chance to work toward college credit and certification in various career fields. She is currently enrolled in the college’s health science program. Baker is loading up on as many college credits as she can before she graduates from high school.

Between nursing classes, electives and prerequisites, Baker said it’s going to be a busy year.

“I’m stressed,” she said with a laugh. “I’m try to get as many college classes in as I can. I know it’s not impossible, but it can be pretty stressful.”

However, Baker said she is glad to be getting a head start on her future and career.

“It’s been such a rewarding experience,” she said. “I’m so glad I was offered this opportunity.”

Baker said she is drawn to the healthcare field with a passion for helping others. She said she wants to be there to make people comfortable during trying times.

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