Amanda Catalfamo is 34 years old and lives in Sacramento. She is a Sacramento Kings fan, and fluent in German and Spanish. She plays guitar and knows sign language.
Raised in Canandaigua, New York, she is the youngest of three. Both of her siblings are college graduates. However, Amanda dropped out of high school due to a stubborn streak. As a freshman, she struggled academically and continued to fall further behind each year and was told she needed to attend summer school to make up her failed classes. Feeling that she had no place to turn for help, she left school during her junior year. “I already had a job and I felt like making money was more important than going to school,” said Amanda.
Years later, she regretted not having finished her education. Amanda was passed over for a pay raise. Her employer told her that if she wanted more money, she should have gone to college. Now Amanda’s stubborn determination worked in her favor. She enrolled in a trade school, passed the exam, and paid the entrance fee.
However, Amanda was devastated to find out that the trade school would not admit her without a high school diploma. Crying on the bus ride home and feeling distraught, Amanda almost gave up on her dream of furthering her education.
Then, she looked up and saw the Career Online High School banner on the bus. This program is offered through the Sacramento Public Library. Launched in 2014, Sacramento was the second library in the nation to offer this life-changing program. With 10 graduates and 75 current enrolled students, Sacramento’s Career Online High School program has been an incredible success story. Its mission is to prepare students for entrance into the workplace by delivering a quality, supportive, and career-based online high school education. Complete with caring academic coaches, certified teachers, career mentors, and technical support resources, the program offers hope to the nearly 40 million Americans without a high school diploma. One of those struggling Americans was Amanda, and for her, Career Online High School was a game changer.
She found that not only could she earn her accredited diploma through Career Online High School at her public library, she could also choose a career path for additional training. Amanda chose Homeland Security, and is currently employed as a private security guard. She hopes to continue her education and ultimately become an immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) officer.
When asked how the program had affected her life Amanda simply stated, “I have been given back something I lost a long time ago. My ability to believe in myself.”
She plans to continue her education and work toward her associate degree in the next few years. With her education and career on track, many big things are yet to come for Amanda Catalfamo.