SLPL’s Class of 2019

Caps and gowns and the playing of “Pomp and Circumstance” may evoke nostalgia for some, but for many Americans, these elements of the quintessential high school graduation ceremony may represent missed opportunities. For the 90,000 adults in the St. Louis area who don’t have a high school degree, the idea of earning a diploma may feel like an impossibility and the challenges caused by its absence can be overwhelming. 

To address this growing need, in October of 2017 St. Louis Public Library (SLPL), in partnership with St. Louis County Library, began offering adults 25 and older the opportunity to earn a nationally accredited high school diploma and career certificate online through the Career Online High School (COHS) program, opens a new window

Though the program typically takes up to 18 months to complete, SLPL produced its first graduate only 8 months after the program’s launch. The first ten graduates were recognized recently with a formal graduation ceremony at Central Library. 

Surrounded by their family and friends, this first round of graduates enjoyed a well-earned celebration of their hard work and achievement, complete with caps and gowns, “Pomp and Circumstance” and even cake. As they crossed the Central Library Auditorium stage, each graduate received a handshake from SLPL Board President Nina North-Murphy and their diploma. 

All participants in the COHS program are able to enroll at no cost thanks to the St. Louis Public Library Foundation and the generous support of Emerson, opens a new window

“Emerson is proud to provide adult students a second chance at a high school diploma through the Career Online High School program at St. Louis Public Library,” said David Rabe, Vice President Corporate Responsibility at Emerson. “It is an honor to empower these students to start a new chapter in their lives.”

Your support of the St. Louis Public Library Foundation makes these life-changing opportunities possible. Thank you.

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