County Library High School Graduates First Class

It was all pomp and circumstance at the County Operations Center in Kearny Mesa last weekend as San Diego County Library celebrated the first-ever class graduating from Library High School. Five students accepted their accredited high school diplomas at an emotional ceremony on Saturday morning.

Family members clapped and cheered as the students walked into the Chambers in caps and gowns. Some of the students had waited decades for this moment, having been derailed from high school due to various reasons, such as taking on work at a young age to help their families make ends meet or raising children.

Graduates included 49-year-old Gina Marie Hensel Carrey, who celebrated her big day with her husband and three of her five children.

“Doing four years of high school crammed into one year was unbelievably tough and the math some days had me in tears,” said Hensel Carrey in an exit survey about the Library High School program. “I persevered like I knew I could, and now look at me!”

Gina Marie Hensel Carrey celebrates her graduation with her family.
Gina Marie Hensel Carrey celebrates her graduation with her family.

Hensel Carrey has taken several community college classes and is now exploring careers. She decided to get her high school diploma because she loves to learn and wanted to prove to herself that she could graduate.

“Many of our Library High School students are full-time employees, parents, and spouses with obligations and responsibilities traditional high school students do not typically have,” said Migell Acosta, Library Director. “These graduates took the time to sit down for their studies after a long day of work, or after their children went to bed, chipping away at their class requirements one assignment at a time until they completed their Library High School coursework.”

Library High School is a free online program offered through the County Library in partnership with the educational content and technology company Cengage. The program provides individualized support including an academic coach to assist students in completing the required coursework. Participants earn an accredited high school diploma and graduate with a portfolio including a credentialed career certificate, as well as a resume and cover letter.

The program is open to San Diego County residents who are at least 19 years old, who wish to earn their high school diploma and have a San Diego County Library card in good standing. Applicants must successfully pass an online self-assessment and prerequisite course, as well as an in-person interview before being admitted to the program. The library offers scholarships to qualified students. For more information, visit the Library High School website.