The Clewiston News

Library’s Career Online High School graduates first class

Special to the Glades County Democrat
Director for the Division of Library and Information Services for the state of Florida came down from Tallahassee to be our guest speaker at the ceremony. Graduates and special guests (left to right) Mayor Mali Gardner, Andranita Williams, Andrea Carrasquillo, Amy Johnson from Tallahassee, Shameka Jones, Stephanie Busin of the Hendry County District School Board, Yessica Reyes, Ava Barrett – Library Director, Nancy Trejo, Shari Howell – Director of Finance for the City of Clewiston, Karen Hilderbrand – LaBelle Library Director, and Daisy Stone.

CLEWISTON — Thursday, Feb. 3, was a history making day for Hendry County, and the Mayor of Clewiston, Mayor Mali Gardner, was a witness. On this day, the county celebrated its first ever graduates from the Library’s Career Online High School. This is a high school program provided through select libraries in the state, funded by our state government, for residents in our county who want a second chance at graduating with a high school diploma, not the GED. The Hendry County Library Cooperative could not be more excited about this Career Online High School opportunity, that enabled us to have a real impact in helping these adults reach their education and career goals. This is a game-changing program for our library and a life-changing program for our patrons who took hold of this program.

There were 12 students in this first batch of graduates. Many had certificates of completions but were not able to get in college with this, because colleges require either the high school diploma or the GED. Now, we have two students who have already started college (FGCU and FSW State College) and several others who are trying to accomplish this goal as well, now that they have the high school diploma.

Special to The Clewiston News
Mayor Mali Gardner speaks to the graduates.

The program was attended not only by the Mayor of Clewiston, but very importantly, Amy Johnson, Director of the Department of Library and Information Services, from Tallahassee, who was the guest speaker. Library Director Karen Hilderbrand of the LaBelle Barron Library was also in attendance, as well as Shari Howell, Finance Director of the City of Clewiston; Stephanie Busin, Clewiston’s representative on the Hendry County School Board, and many others in our community who rejoiced for the students who registered and completed the program.

Currently, there are openings for an additional 10 to 15 students who may want to take hold of this program. All they have to do is contact the library and ask how to get started.