The Corpus Christi Public Library is evolving from a place where people can check out books and surf the web to one where residents can also earn an accredited high school diploma.
“It is very vital in our community because we do have a lot of individuals that do not have their high school diploma or a GED equivalency,” said Corpus Christi library director Laura Garcia.
Programs like this are made to help students like 54-year-old Irma Segura and 17-year-old Isaiah Alejos, who both dropped out of school in the ninth grade.
“I am doing this so I can have a better opportunity and get a better job,” Segura said.
“Sooner or later, you are going to hit rock bottom, and you are going to realize and look back on your life and, you are going to wish you had just done better,” Alejos said.
Applicants must pass an initial evaluation to become eligible for a library-sponsored scholarship to attend Career Online High School.
“First, they have to go through a 14-day course program, and once they pass that, then we get them into the next level, which is a 30-day program that they have to be successful. Once they complete that, then we officially offer the scholarship for the program,” said Garcia.
This is the first time a public library will be offering an accredited high school diploma to students ages 16 and up. They will take courses online but will meet at the library for assistance and to interact with fellow learners.
“Some of the older individuals that we met with, they really have found that they do need that diploma, where, when they were younger, they thought they could get by,” Garcia said. “But they are finding, especially in the work force, they really need to get that diploma.”
Alejos said going back to school is important for his future and his family.
“I want to change my future,” he said. “Like the way I am seeing things and opening a whole new world to myself.”
And Segura emphasized that it’s always a good time to go back and return to school.
“My advice is that it is never too late,” she said. “You can always go back and get your diploma.”
Students will also get an opportunity to choose one of many career modules such as hospitality, food service or homeland security.
The program is completely online and accessible 24 hours a day so participants don’t need to buy books or materials.
This program is expected to grow and may be introduced to other public library systems in the city.
For more information, contact Laura Garcia at 361-826-7070.