April 25, 2023

It’s Never too Late: Adult Learners Celebrate High School Graduation

Free library program offers convenient path for Virginia Beach adults to complete high school.
Graduates on stage

It had all the hallmarks of high school graduation. Proud family members and friends gathered at the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library, holding signs and gifts to celebrate their loved ones.

Graduates, friends and family celebrate the occasion in the Central Library art gallery.

Wearing caps and gowns, graduates entered the auditorium to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” and headed for center stage. Tassels were turned, hats were thrown. There were speeches, cheers, applause, tears and of course, cake.

But, unlike traditional high school ceremonies celebrating graduates in their teens, this Virginia Beach Public Library (VBPL) event honored seven high school graduates ranging in age from 20- to 60-something, many of them parents. Each one completing educational journeys that had been deferred for multiple reasons, some for a few years, some for decades, by earning diplomas through VBPL’s Career Online High School – a free, fully-accredited program for Virginia Beach adults.

Director of Libraries Kimberly Knight congratulating and graduate seated with her family and friends.

"You embody the adage that it’s never too late to achieve your dreams," said Director of Libraries Kimberly Knight, addressing the graduates. "Those of you with children have set an example for the importance of education and commitment to their goals. Everyone at VBPL takes great pride in your achievements and is cheering for you in the next chapter of your lives."

In addition to fulfilling personal goals, Career Online High School graduates often go on to pursue higher education, get new jobs, open their own businesses. As one graduate said, “This opportunity has completely changed my life.”

From the application process through graduation and beyond, VBPL staff provide support for COHS students and can connect them with library resources including computers and internet access, classes to help boost computer skills, including how to use Microsoft Office products, career coaching services to help with creating resumes, job-hunting and more.

Including the recent honorees, 45 Virginia Beach residents have graduated from the program since VBPL began offering it in 2016. In addition to earning a high school diploma, students can earn career certificates in areas like homeland security, childcare education, commercial driving and more. Career Online High School is available to Virginia Beach residents who are at least 20 years old and have completed 8th grade.

Contact Information

Virginia Beach Public Library

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