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Douglas County Libraries launched the Career Online High School and GED prep program in fall 2017 to provide an accredited online high school diploma and career certification program for adults ages 19 and older. The program allows students to complete the courses on their own schedule and at their own pace. A six- to 18-month commitment to the program is required, depending on previously earned high school credits.
“What’s great about this program is that even though coursework is entirely online, students have access to a personal academic coach who can offer encouragement and guidance as needed through text, email or by phone,” said Tiffany Curtin, adult literacy specialist with the libraries. “They’ll also have in-person support from DCL staff members, and can participate in career prep webinars that provide the tools they’ll need after graduation.”
Students who do not qualify for the program can take advantage of the library’s high school equivalency (HSE) prep classes, Curtin said. “GED students with high scores can even earn college credit. We are happy to discuss all options with potential students to help them on their path to reaching their education goals.”
To learn more, visit DCL.org/cohs or call 303-791-7323.
Eight-year-old Johnny Jenkins, and his brother J’Reece, 7, spent Sunday afternoon at the Douglas County Library in Parker. They weren’t there browsing the bookshelves or looking to check out the latest video game. They were there to watch their mother, Kiama, receive her high school diploma.
Jenkins, 27, who lives in the Pinery, left high school when she got pregnant with Johnny, and has spent the last 10 years working and raising her boys. Thanks to Douglas County Library’s Career Online High School program, Jenkins finally earned her diploma and is planning to attend the community college.
“This feels good,” said Jenkins, who chose a black cap and gown for the ceremony. “I never thought I could get my diploma. But now that I have kids I want them to make good choices.”
Jenkins was one of four graduates recognized at the ceremony, which was attended by dozens of friends and family members in the conference room at the library.
Tiffany Curtin, adult literary specialist for Douglas County Libraries who oversees the program, praised the graduates for their hard work and recognized several tutors who helped them.
“Family and friends, you helped make it happen for them,” said Curtin. “This is a great achievement, and I’m so proud of everyone here today.”
Each graduate had a specific reason for utilizing the program, and shared their stories with the crowd.
Skylar Nelson, 18, was in the seventh grade when she was stricken with cancer. Her grandfather spoke to the crowd about her dedication to earning her General Equivalency Diploma.
“Skylar was in the seventh grade when her education was interrupted,” said a teary-eyed Scott Stockton. “She spent the next several years just fighting to stay alive. I’m so proud of her, and for all of you graduates, congratulations. Everybody’s got a story.”
Nelson said she is cancer-free now, and is considering going into the field of medicine because of the great care she received. She currently works as a cook at the Egg and I and is planning to save her money for future education costs.
Sunita Safi, 22, spoke about the long path from Afghanistan, including as a refugee in India for more than eight years, before she finally made it to the United States.
After moving to Colorado in 2015 she heard about the GED program from a friend.
“My friend said `Why don’t you apply for your GED?’ ” said Safi. “I didn’t know what it was, but I found out with a GED I can go to college. A GED is a tool that unlocks many doors of opportunity. It took me 15 months to complete, and I won’t lie, it was difficult.”
Elena Sainz, 61, from Mexico, was the oldest graduate. With a creative flair she adorned her cap with an elegant picture of a woman.
“I’m a dreamer who believes in a chance to succeed, anytime, anywhere,” said Sainz, who also recently attained her U.S. citizenship. “I would come home from a hard day at work and have a hard night of classes. I want to thank Douglas County libraries for the opportunity to realize this dream.”
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