There’s more to Kansas City than its out-of-this-world BBQ, no matter how much you might be made to believe otherwise. If you absolutely must indulge while you’re visiting, Jack Stack, Joe’s or Q39 are the places to go. But the mouth-watering hometown delicacy is not the reason I traveled to Kansas City in the first place.
On November 1st, National American University’s Overland Park campus celebrated seven graduates of Penn Foster High School, and I was fortunate enough to attend as Penn Foster’s representative. Among those that helped to provide the graduates an opportunity to celebrate this momentous occasion were NAU’s Penn Foster Program Coordinator Whitney Vaughn, Campus Director Katie Herring, and many more members of the NAU staff.
During the day of the ceremony, I had the opportunity to speak with each graduate and learn more about where they were going and what they hoped to accomplish. They were all grateful that their local NAU campus provided them with the opportunity to obtain their High School Diploma and paved the way for future educational opportunities in disciplines such as medical billing and coding and IT.
At face value, it may have seemed like a normal graduation ceremony. There was a photographer present, and the typical questions were raised: “Which side does the tassel start on?” “Has everyone’s family arrived?” Yet, when you looked beneath the surface, you could tell that this day was different.
These students, many of whom were returning to high school for a second time in pursuit of their first diploma, made a conscious decision to not only obtain a diploma but also to matriculate into NAU programs after graduating. They knew what their goal was, and they knew how to take the first step. By attending campus for 10 hours per week in pursuit of success, they showed their continued commitment to furthering their education beyond high school. As of the time of this ceremony, six of the seven graduates have committed to continuing their education at NAU.
A common theme from the student speakers at the ceremony was the level of sacrifice it takes to pursue your dreams. They stressed that all of the challenges and unexpected detours life can throw at you truly mean nothing if you don’t persevere long enough to eventually experience the elation of success.
Vaughn and Herring were amazing champions for the graduates, repeatedly reminding them to celebrate what they have already accomplished and stressing the importance of always looking forward. They told the graduates to keep the focus and determination it took to complete this accomplishment and to apply it to their future educational goals.
It was an honor to attend the ceremony, and I hope Penn Foster’s presence demonstrated how much we all appreciate the sacrifice and dedication of the graduates. As I told them, I’m extremely excited to see what’s next to come for each and every graduate, and to see what challenges they choose to tackle next.
To learn more about Penn Foster’s High School Completion solution for career schools, click the link below!
Recommended for you: Phoenix Rising YouthBuild: Rising to the Occasion