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CAL Success Story

Arrielle Hopkins: From Homeless to First Generation College Student

Image of 2019 Career Online High School graduate Arielle Hopkins at the Jacksonville Public Library

Now a full-time college student at Florida State College at Jacksonville, Arrielle Hopkins, age 30, is proud and grateful to have earned her high school diploma, a dream made possible by her determination—and the Career Online High School Diploma program administered through the library’s Center for Adult Learning.

Lianying Ye: Grateful for Encouragement and New Beginning

Lianying Ye gets a big congratulations from Library Director Tim Rogers at the Jacksonville Public Library.

Lianying Ye earned a medical degree in China. Tragically all of her school records and proof of credentials were lost in a fire. Knowing that Lianying wanted to resume her education, a friend suggested the library as a place where she might take computer classes and GED classes.

GED Graduate Jacqueline: Realizing Dream to Help ‘Even in Death’

Career Online High School

Getting past the GED test might lead to your childhood dream—even if it’s to become a mortician.  So the story goes for Jacqueline, a 2018 GED graduate at Jacksonville Public Library, who dreamed of becoming a mortician. Despite receiving a certificate of completion from high school, Jacqueline, who’s enrolled in Florida State College at Jacksonville’s mortuary science program, realized she’d need more than that to pursue the career she envisioned.

Dante Chandler: Diploma helped ‘get foot in door’

Image of Dante Chandler at his Career Online High School graduation

Dante Chandler, 32 years old and happily married, professes that his family and five children are his “motivation for living and being a better person.” One thing he looks forward to each week is making a trip with the kids to the public library, typically the Willowbranch Branch Library, which is near the kids’ school, or the Main Library if they’re venturing close to downtown.

Desiree: Checking high school diploma off bucket list

Image of Desiree Lazarus at her Career Online High School graduation

At age 51, Desiree Lazarus took the plunge, and did something she’s had on her bucket list for a long time—she went “back to high school” to get her diploma. After several failed attempts at the GED—she passed the social studies, science and reading sections easily but had difficulty with the writing and math—she’d all but thrown in the towel when she learned about Career Online High School (COHS) at the library.

Khadi: From READ to GED: 'Poster Child' for Success

GED Graduation Image of Khadi

Khadidiatou “Khadi” Ndiaye, who hails from Senegal, West Africa, first came to Jacksonville Public Library’s Center for Adult Learning (CAL) in 2006 to learn English. As an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) student, she attended English classes on and off for years at CAL, sometimes interrupted for extended periods of time when she made trips back home to Senegal.

Dennis Hoffman: Getting Life Back on Track

GED Graduation Image of Dustin Hoffman at The JPL

Dennis Hoffman’s education was derailed when he quit school to help take care of his teenage sister’s children. Even though he dropped out after failing ninth grade, he never gave up on his dream to continue his education “one day.” That day finally came when Dennis enrolled in GED studies through LEAP—Library Enhanced Access Program—at the library’s Center for Adult Learning (CAL).

Dawt Si: In Her Own Words

GED Graduation Image of Dawt Si with JPL staff

“My name is Dawt Si. I grew up in Burma and moved to the United States in 2009 when I was 18 years old. Burma is a very poor country and I could not afford to go to school there. My mother is a teacher and she always encouraged me to learn, but I never learned English. I moved to Denver and lived with family there for two years without knowing any English at all. When people said “hello” to me, I thought that they were calling me by the name “Hello.”

Peter Malek: Sudanese ‘Lost Boy’ Finds Hope

Peter Malek at GED Graduation with JPL Staff

Some refugees living in Jacksonville were once Lost Boys. That was what aid workers called more than 20,000 boys of minority ethnic groups who fled Sudan during a civil war in the early 80s.

Jacksonville Public Library