Tucson Mom finds Confidence, New Career through Library Online High School Program
When Yvette Moutran was 18, she missed out on a defining moment for most teenagers: high school graduation. Narrowly missing the requirements to graduate, Moutran attended high school until the very last day. “I saw my class walk,” Moutran remembers. “It was…heartbreaking.”
Moutran, now a working wife and mother, always intended to go back and finish her schooling. But in addition to the challenge of balancing work and home life, she was kept away by the embarrassment of failing to get her degree in the first place. “Sometimes [I] sit there and think, ‘Oh gosh, a high school diploma? I should have gotten it a long time ago,’” Moutran said. “It feels shameful because it’s something you should have done.”
Then in 2017, Moutran got a new job that required a high school diploma. She was given a deadline to finish her education, or she would lose her job. Moutran was forced to stop putting it off.
That’s when Moutran discovered Pima County Public Library’s (PCPL) Career Online High School program, a new initiative funded through an LSTA grant with the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Through the program, Yvette received a scholarship to attend high school online through the library.
PCPL’s program is tailored to working adults who are returning to complete their academic credentials. In addition to courses in English, Math, History, and Science, Moutran enrolled in electives in Office Management, her chosen career track in the program, as well as job search and resume writing classes. With the support of her academic coaches and library staff, Moutran felt her diploma was “so obtainable” and never feared failing her second time around.
Going through school again also gave Moutran perspective on her career path and broadened her career aspirations. “[This program] has opened doors to…things I didn’t think I would be doing at this stage of my life,” Moutran says. “One of the things I learned about myself was that [my current job] is not what I want to do for the rest of my life.” While working on her high school diploma, Moutran discovered her passion for social work. She now plans to pursue an associate’s degree in order to start a career helping people affected be domestic violence and substance abuse.
After five months of course work, Yvette became the first graduate of PCPL’s Career Online High School program. “It’s so rewarding to go through it and finish…and say, ‘I did it. It’s not too late,’” Moutran says. In October, she will walk in a long-awaited graduation ceremony, cap and gown included.