In 2014, we graduated nearly 20,000 high school students, in addition to over 12,000 career and college students who received certificates and degrees in over 127 different programs. As we reflect on the record-breaking year, we can't help but focus on the amazing students who found success with Penn Foster in 2014. Here are ten amazing stories:
1. John Cardinal, Gardiner, MA
John battled substance abuse for 25 years and is now 16+ years sober. John found his path to sobriety and decided that he wanted to give back, and help others find their path to a sober life. John is a substance abuse counselor at an intensive six month residential program for adult males who suffer with addiction. In order to maintain his job and credentials, John needed to get his high school diploma. He struggled with education for many years, having dropped out of school in the 6th grade, and didn't learn to read until he was in his 30s. On June 7th " John completed his last exam and earned his high school diploma.
2. 2014 "Fresh Start" Graduates, Polk County, FL
In June, we had the privilege of attending the Polk County School District graduation for 214 former (or almost) high school dropouts. The majority of the graduates are non-traditional students, ranging in age from 17 -21. One of the students even had to take three public buses to travel to school for the program. Meet the graduates.
3. Eric Daniels, Providence, RI
Eric came to the United States from Monrovia, Liberia in West Africa at the age of 12. He dropped out of high school, and despite multiple attempts towards earning his high school diploma, he continued to struggle. He found the Providence YouthBuild program, which offered the Penn Foster high school option, and he decided to give it a shot. He graduated from the program in the fall of 2014, and quickly earned a full-time job working in construction. His future goal is to go back to school to become an RN, and help open up a clinic back in his home country of Liberia. Read more about the partnership here.
4. Institute of Technology High School Completion Graduates, Clovis, CA
Many of these students previously struggled with education for a variety of reasons, including having a baby at 16 and enduring family challenges and dropped out of high school. Years later though, not only were these young adults left without a high school diploma, they felt lost and discouraged about their futures. Through their partnership with Penn Foster, the Institute of Technology graduated their first class of Penn Foster high school graduates. Meet the graduates.
5. Ashley Arrabal, Key Largo, FL
Ashley struggled with education and substance abuse in her youth, and decided to go to college and got her Associate degree from Penn Foster in 2010. She decided to go back, and work on getting her Bachelor's degree in Business Management from Penn Foster, and graduated over the summer. Her inspiring essay earned the most votes in the 2014 Graduate of the Year contest, and she earned herself a graduation party thrown by Penn Foster with her family, friends and coworkers. Read her winning essay.
6. Dorsey Schools High School Completion Graduates, Detroit, MI
Dorsey Schools began enrolling students in the Penn Foster High School Completion program on two of their campuses in late 2013, and has expanded the offering this year to four additional campuses. The high school completion program is operating successfully in the Detroit metro-area, which has above-average high school drop-out rates. The Penn Foster program is successfully generating interest in the school, and the students who do enroll into one of their many career programs, are strong and motivated students. Meet some of the graduates.
7. Tiffany Brown, Alamogordo, NM
Tiffany was selected as the DETC Outstanding Graduate of the year. She chose Penn Foster for her Dental Assistant program because it was online and affordable and was looking for a program that fit into her busy schedule, and allowed her to achieve her goal of becoming a Certified Dental Assistant. Not only was she selected as the graduate of the year, but she also worked with the New Mexico Mission of Mercy, a free, two day dental clinic, delivering dental care for individuals who cannot afford it. She plans to continue her education, and work towards becoming an Oral Surgeon's Assistant. Read more about Tiffany.
8. John Cardinal, Erika Vinson, DeeJay Thomas at SXSWedu in Austin, TX
These three students come from diverse backgrounds " John a recovering addict from Massachusetts, Erika an animal loving Veterinary Technician from Alabama, and DeeJay a charismatic daycare teacher from Pennsylvania. But they have two things in common. One " they all needed flexible, online learning to help them fulfill their education goals. Two " they all spoke about the power of online learning at SXSWedu in Austin, Texas. Read more.
9. Nikkiya Gentry, Detroit, MI
Homeless at the age of 11, Nikkiya lived on the streets, raising herself and fighting for survival. As she began to get her life back on track, she was diagnosed with a life threatening disease, but she didn't let that stop her. After she recovered, she decided she wanted to go back to school and become a chef, but she didn't have her high school diploma. Luckily, Dorsey Schools offered the Penn Foster high school completion program. Not only did Nikkiya graduation, but she went onto the Dorsey Schools culinary program, serves as a student ambassador, and recently presented at the 2014 ACICS Annual Conference in New Orleans where she was able to share her inspiring story with others. Read more.
10. Nearly 8,000 Job Corps High School Graduates, Job Corps, USA
Penn Foster has partnered with Job Corps centers since 2008. This year we added 18 new centers, bringing the total to 76. Through our partnership with these centers, together we graduated almost 8,000 Job Corps students, who are typically underserved and under-resourced. This blended learning model allows students to engage with their coursework online, while affording them the opportunity to get faculty support in a classroom setting. Read more.