| By Sydney Fairman |
Last year, Terrance and LaMeeka Smith of Hastings, Fla. made the decision to enroll in Career Online High School. The couple had children at an early age and, subsequently, never completed high school.
The program, which allows qualified community members the chance to earn a free accredited high school diploma and career certificate, started in the St. John’s County Library System in 2016. The program, which is entirely online, is accessible 24 hours a day and offers career-specific training for in-demand professions such as childcare, food hospitality, homeland security and more.
The audacious goal was to help the 8,983 adults in St. John’s County that lack a high school diploma or equivalent. As of 2017, the Smiths are no longer a part of that number.
As an associate pastor at a local Baptist church, Terrance has since used the diploma to help him reach the next level of his ministry training. LaMeeka, who works with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities at The Arc of the St. Johns in Augustine, earned credentials that has helped her move closer to her goal of becoming a childcare professional.
However, the accomplishment was more personal than simply moving up the career ladder.
“After we got our diplomas, we were able to encourage our family members and others in the community to do the same, and we were able to encourage them without being hypocritical. We are able to say, ‘If I went back and did it, so can you’. At any age it’s never too late.”
– Terrance Smith
To learn more about offering this life-changing program to your community,
Banner Image: THE ST. AUGUSTINE RECORD/ST. JOHN’S LIBRARY LaMeeka (left) and Terrance Smith pose after receiving their high school diplomas through Career Online High School.