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Rockford Public Library helping adults earn high school diploma and kick start careers

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Kori Davis

ROCKFORD (WREX) — Graduation season is upon us.

It's the time of year where students, both high school and college, will claim their diplomas or degrees and get ready for the next chapter of their lives.

Kori Davis is a part of that group, but her path has been a bit different.

She finished high school online in November and is preparing for graduation through the Rockford Public Library.

"It gives me a lot of self confidence. It gives me a reason to believe in myself again," Davis said.

Kori's success is thanks to the libray's Career High School Online program.

It was created back in 2017 to help give adults a second chance at getting their high school diplomas and address the education gap in the stateline.

"There was a study done by Rock Valley College in 2015. At the time, the study said in Winnebago and Boone counties we have 44,000 adults that didn't have a high school diploma or GED," Career High School Online Program Director Leon Smith said.

"You start from where you left off in high school and there's nine career fields you can select from."

Those fields include child care, hospitality, homeland security retail customer service and general career preparation.

Students who enroll are paired with an advisor that stays in touch with them throughout the program.

Momentum has grown for the program over the last year thanks to support from SupplyCore president Peter Provenzano.

"There's been a lot of work done in our community over the years trying to figure out how to get adult high school completion mroe successfully," Provenzano said.

"It sounded to me like it reduced a lot of that friction that can be associated with a place based program where you have to show up to attend."

Provenzano put a lot of focus on the reduction of friction.

Not only for students but also for the library running the program.

"There is no place to create. There's no infrastructure that needs to be produced. All the dollars are going into curriculum or going into getting exposure for the program to acquire more students," Provenzano said.

The diploma is a big accomplishment for Kori.

When she was in high school, she spend a lot of time at home taking care of her sick mother.

She has since passed away.

However, it's been only motivation for Kori to pursue her goals and make her mom proud.

She has a simple message for anyone going through the same struggles she did.

"It definitely taught me a lot of patience for sure. It definitely taught me to not give up and stay focused," Davis said.

"Once you apply yourself and become consistent. You will prevail."

If you are interested in the Career High School Online program, click here.

If you know of any one or group making a positive impact in our community, you can fill out a nomination form here or you can reach out to eleake@wrex.com.

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Evan Leake

Evan Leake anchors for 13 News Today and 13 News at Noon. Evan grew up in Darien, Illinois, a south-west suburb of Chicago. He came to WREX in 2017 and worked his way to the anchor desk in May of 2019. He coordinates both the Teacher of the Week and Inspiring 815 series for 13 News. You can connect with Evan at eleake@wrex.com or Evan Leake on Facebook.

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