The story is all too familiar to people who drop out of high school. Many have low-paying jobs or no jobs at all. And when they try to learn a trade or get a certificate to enter a profession with decent pay, they find out a harsh truth - all professional or post-secondary schools require a high school diploma.
Three women in New York City - Lillian Betancourt, 37, Latoya Abrams, 21, and Shereen France, 41 - all found themselves in this type of frustrating situation.
After years of trying to pay bills on time and just getting by, these women decided to turn their lives around and get high school diplomas.
Through advertisements and word of mouth, the women found Careertel, which represents the Liberty High School Diploma Program. This distance-learning program enables adults to earn their high school diplomas while they continue to work and attend to their other obligations.
"Location, working hours, age provide no barrier for serious, motivated distance-learning students," said Jerome Polvay, president of Careertel.
Approved by the Vermont State Board of Education, Liberty High School allows students to control the pace at which they study. Material is provided for each class and all assignments and exams are completed at home. If students need tutoring, faculty advisers offer help over the phone. Also, credit is given for courses they previously completed.
Now, with their high school diplomas in hand, the future looks very promising for the women. In fact, all three are now seeking higher education. Betancourt is studying criminal law in New York, Abrams will attend Georgia College & State University, and France will be attending nursing school in New York.
"Finally I feel important," said Betancourt. "I'm reaching my goal."