| By Sydney Fairman |
At the age of 15, Sharita Davis-Campbell, dropped out of high school to due to a pregnancy. At the end of Erin Fendler’s sophomore year of high school, she dropped out as well, thinking she didn’t need to finish.
This past October, both have earned their high school diplomas at the ages of 45 and 41, respectively, through Career Online High School at St. Louis County Library. The program is a self-paced, accredited online high school diploma for adults in which library scholarships cover the $1,255 cost per person.
The program specific to the St. Louis County Library and the St. Louis Public Library only accepts adults 25 and older. Along with providing scholarships, students are paired with an academic online coach. Library staff also provide support by sending emails, offering tutoring sessions and checking in if students haven’t logged into their accounts in a while.
“They live really busy lives, have jobs and children, and getting this in is a huge commitment,” said Susan Davids, the adult outreach supervisor at St. Louis Public Library.
In St. Louis and St. Louis County, more than 103,000 residents over the age of 25 do not have a high school degree, according to census figures. Between October and December last year, more than 720 people in St. Louis County submitted preliminary applications for the program.
“Every individual we thought was qualified and would succeed, we were able to award the scholarships,” said Ricqui Brooks, adult literacy coordinator at St. Louis County Library. The library’s foundation, funded through private and corporate donations, was able to give out 57 scholarships.
According to Fendler, not having a diploma, “is just something you carry.”
“It was just nice to know I could do it. No matter what stage of your life you’re in, you can do this.”
Read more about the St. Louis County Library Career Online High School 2018 graduating class by clicking here.
To learn more about offering this life-changing program to your community, visit gale.com/diploma.
BANNER IMAGE: Graduates of the Career Online High School file through the St. Louis County Library headquarters at a ceremony on Oct. 27, 2018. Photo by Kara Hays Smith, St. Louis County Library.