Tahj Turnley is blunt when he talks about himself.

“I probably shouldn’t be here.”

Born weighing less than two pounds, now 17 year-old, 220-pound Tahj is a true miracle in every sense of the word.

“Back when I was a freshman in high school, I didn’t think I would go to college, I didn’t think I was going to be anything,” he explains candidly. “I just thought sports was my only way out.”

As Tahj puts it, he was on a bad path, making poor grades and unconcerned with what would happen after high school. A future career was the furthest from his mind.

But after changing schools for his junior and senior year, Tahj began to see that future for himself, something that went from a dream to reality after enrolling in the TN Promise.

“I’m really trying to work for something that I believe in, and I’m trying to get myself on the right path,” Tahj said.

For Tahj, that path is Northfield Instructional Service Center, a branch of Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Hohenwald, where he’s studying automotive technology. Tahj sees himself working at Nissan and one day, owning his own business.

The TN Promise is both a scholarship and mentoring program focused on increasing the number of students that attend college in Tennessee. It allows students to attend any of the state’s 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology or other eligible institution offering an associate’s degree program, completely free of charge. 


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