Back in 2007, Polk County School District in Florida was facing a significant challenge "  a 40% high school dropout rate (a rate much higher than the national average).  That same year, Polk County partnered with Penn Foster on a Dropout Retrieval program to re-engage students in danger of dropping out, and those who had already dropped out, giving them a second chance at earning a high school diploma.  The "Fresh Start " program provides these at-risk students with focused on-campus facilitator support, a self-paced testing schedule, and career-focused electives to prepare them for success beyond the classroom.

To date, over 700 Polk County students have graduated from the Fresh Start Program, armed with a high school diploma and the credentials and confidence they need to pursue the next step in their journey...whether that's continuing their education, or pursuing a job.  Penn Foster attended and spoke at the recent graduation ceremony for the Class of 2014, where 214 students were cheered on by 2500+ family and friends. We had the pleasure of speaking with several students, and hearing first-hand their inspiring stories of what a high school diploma means to them, and what's next for them now that they are officially a high school graduate.

Meet the 2014 Fresh Start Graduates!

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Be sure to share their incredible story, and let us know what you think of their accomplishments on Twitter

Resources: (1) Building a GradNation