That's exactly what one teacher in Barren County has dedicated her career to doing, making her this weeks Hometown Hero.
For some students dreams of the future are a little harder to assemble than for others, but for the students at College Street Campus, they have no trouble deciding what they want to become.
"Medical Lab Technologist"
And they have someone to thank for being the influence they needed to dream big.
"Thank you so much Ms. Burks, because without her I probably would have just been done with school. I probably wouldn't be on graduation phase, I wouldn't have all the good grades that I have in her class without her help", says Raven Whitlow a student at College Street Campus.
Ms. Burks has worked at College Street Campus for 15 years and says it's just her job to get students on track.
"One of the things I tell my students all the time is they may not be able to understand what I'm doing now is going to help them, and maybe someday in 5 or 10 or 15 years from now they'll realize that the way that I teach them and the lessons I try to instill in them will effect them", says Barbara Burks.
The Director of the school says Ms. Burks has always seemed to have that special connection with students.
"What I see with Ms. Burks is a teacher that is dedicated to helping children. She works very hard to be organized, to be structured, and to present material in a way that many struggling students can still comprehend and gain a lot of knowledge from", says Dan Belding.
After dropping out of school Megan Smith decided to try it again, and now Ms. Burks is the reason she's staying in school.
"She has helped me a lot, the days that i'm feeling down she's there to talk to me, and if it weren't for her last year, I would have probably dropped out again. She's got me wanting to go to college and she's made me see that I can actually make something of myself", says Smith a student at College Street.
While Ms. Burks is helping struggling students prepare for the future she is struggling herself.
"Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma, one in a million get diagnosed with this cancer and rather than winning lottery this is what I got, which is fine, we all are handed with what we can deal with", says Burks.
But students say she stays strong for them.
"She never lets her cancer bring her down, and she works so hard to meet each individual students needs that it's unreal", says Whitlow.
And they say they wouldn't continue into Higher Education without her help.
"She's helped me with all kinds of things, like my college education and trying to finish high school", says William Jean a student at College Street.
For helping struggling students find their dreams and pushing them to success we honor Barbara Burks as this weeks Hometown Hero.
Ms. Burks says that the cancer she has is not curable, but she doesn't plan on letting it slow her down when it comes to her classrooms education.