GCLD graduates five students from Career Online High School

photo by Kim Cameron | Graduates Jennifer Miller, Kayla Wilson, Alex Geist, and Malynn Glass. Not pictured Jade Glover.
photo by Kim Cameron | Graduates Jennifer Miller, Kayla Wilson, Alex Geist, and Malynn Glass. Not pictured Jade Glover.

The Grand County Library District celebrated the graduation of five students from the Career Online High School on Saturday, January 26.
Through a grant, GCLD offered the program to nontraditional students who were Grand County Library District cardholders 19 and over and had not received their high school diploma or GED.

Commencement speaker, Sally LeClair, a former educator and current GCLD president, congratulated the graduates on “steadfast determination and commitment… characterized by balancing their time, family, and responsibilities.”

She began, “Unlike the traditional path of your peers you all took a different course for different reasons… Sometimes life does not follow a linear path the same as many of your peers. Studying from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. – submitting assignments at 5:14 a.m. That takes a lot of maturity, determination, and courage. You are all stellar examples of discipline, commitment and courage for your family, friends and future enrollees.” LeClair stressed the importance of the high school degree and how new opportunities and doors were open to the graduates.
These sentiments were echoed from the graduates as they spoke.
Malynn Glass was the first to complete the program and was highly motivated to complete the program before the birth of her second child. She was able to transfer several of her high school credits into the program and appreciated that she could work on her own schedule and at her own pace. “It was hard to go back and make this commitment, but it is a wonderful program… I can now decide what I want do with my future,” she concluded on the benefits of the program.

Alex Geist spoke, “I would like to start off by saying this program has been a blessing to me. I’m a young mom of two beautiful little girls, and being a young mom, people tend to judge your ability to achieve anything. Age shouldn’t be a factor on what you can achieve… I wanted to show my girls that no matter how old you are, how long it takes you, that you can achieve anything… My next steps are to be able to go to college, have a good career and be able to provide for them, and show them you can really do anything you set your mind to.”

At 39 years old, Jennifer Miller is a parent of teenagers, a grandparent, and a co-owner of Blue Life, LTD. She has beaten cancer and still faces surgeries for tumors in her hip. As a teenager, she felt bullied at her school in Broomfield and dropped out. When she chose to enter the Career Online High School, she opted to begin her courses at the freshmen level and complete her whole high school education again. Her children also served as her motivation, “I wanted to better myself and show all my kids if I can do this – you can do this.” She also completed the high school program for her parents, Leonard and Joleen White.

Miller worked at her classes daily and was able to set her own pace. Sometimes she would work two hours while others saw her committing up to five hours or more each day. “I had a lot of motivation and just stuck with it.” she said, adding, “My coach was a lot of help. She checked on me each day and helped however she could,” Miller commented in an interview. She will be featured in the Career Online High School publication. “It is an amazing program. You do it at your convenience on your own time.”

Kayla Wilson highlighted having a fresh start at learning. “I really noticed this,” she said noting she decided to leave high school during her senior year. She said of the ownership of her learning, “I never kept it before, and now I have kept it and can talk about it. It is just awesome.”

LeClair said the program would continue next year partly because of the success of the ladies in the pilot program.

Director of Public Services, Polly Gallagher explained, “Initially, Career Online High School was opened to Colorado Libraries through a grant from the Colorado State Library. We opted in with other libraries statewide to pilot the program in 2018.

With such impactful response from the 10 scholarships, we provided Grand County Library District Board of Trustees, dedicated funds from unrestricted donations to continue the program. Donations for to our general fund are welcome to support this program and others. This year we are planning to offer five scholarships. Individuals can go to gcld.org/cohs to learn more about the program and complete an online self-assessment survey.

Once submitted, I’ll reach out to the individuals to interview and help them get started on pre-requisite courses to see if the program is right for them. It does require a time commitment and dedication in order to complete in the 18 months given.” On her application for the program, graduate Jade Glover summed up her reasons for pursuing her diploma, “I want the opportunity to prove to myself that I am worth the effort it is going to take to complete my high school education.”

LeClair followed these sentiments as she concluded the commencement with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Make the most of yourself….for that is all there is of you.”