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A second chance at education success

In an emotional recent ceremony at the Central Library, Cindy Juarez joined other adults in being honored for graduating from high school.

For some, it was a celebration decades in the making. Cindy dropped out in 10th grade and decided, at the age of 56, it was finally time to get her diploma and advance her current career in the City of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department.

“It was always in the back of my mind, for years,” said Juarez. “I wish that I had done it sooner.”

Juarez works as a pump station operator and recently applied for a promotion, to become a certified wastewater operator. She was told a high school diploma is required.

“School was tough, I had a hard time in school,” said Juarez. “Now that I’m older, I enjoyed every minute of it. I appreciate that I could do it on my time and it was very convenient, I could do the program at home or come to the library.”

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WATCH a video of Cindy’s high school graduation.

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Career Online High School is an accredited online high school diploma and career certificate program, offered in partnership with the San Diego Public Library Foundation. Library Foundation donors fund scholarships that make the program possible. Donors provide scholarships to qualified adults looking to advance their careers and education. Cindy is among the third graduating class.

“What these students have achieved is incredible and I am so proud of their accomplishment, and we are proud that the San Diego Public Library could be part of it,” said Library Director Misty Jones. “We strive to provide opportunities for everyone and these students are a testament to what can be achieved when an opportunity arises.”

Participants have the flexibility to take classes and access schoolwork online – at their own pace – and receive free support and educational resources from the library. Students also prepare for a career in one of eight high-demand, high-growth fields.

More than 205,000 San Diegans over the age of 25 (15 percent of the population) do not have a high school diploma. Unemployment for this group is double that for high school graduates. Career Online High School helps high school dropouts overcome the reasons they didn’t finish. Many students are able to complete the program in as few as six months.

To support Career Online High School scholarships, visit HERE.

"School was tough. Now that I'm older, I enjoyed every minute of it," Cindy Juarez said of her Career Online High School experience.