San Jose Public Library Celebrates First Class of Graduates

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| Originally posted on The Mercury News |

For most high school students, August is a back-to-school month. But 11 adults in San Jose have just completed their journey toward a high school diploma — through the San Jose Public Library.

Library Director Jill Bourne, Mayor Sam Liccardo and Councilmen Sergio Jimenez and Lan Diep were on hand Wednesday to congratulate the new grads in a ceremony at the City Hall rotunda. Nine of the 11 people who completed their diploma through Career Online High School attended the ceremony, dressed in caps and gowns and cheered by dozens of friends, family members and co-workers.

Gerardo Vasquez Padilla, one of the new graduates, said education wasn’t important to his father, and he left school 30 years ago “with a hole in my heart.” He dedicated his diploma to his late mother. “I know she’s happy to see me complete this step,” he said. “It’s never too late.”

The San Jose Public Library system connected with the online program from Gale, a Cengage Company in 2016. With the help of the California State Library and the San Jose Public Library Foundation, the library’s Partners in Reading program awarded 64 scholarships to adults looking to participate in the program. So Bourne said, while this may be the first class of graduates, it’s far from the last.

Interested in learning more about Career Online High School, visit

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