Graduation Day: First Class of Career Online High School Students Set to Receive Diplomas

Friday, November 3, 2017
Courtney Lewis

Kansas City, MO - The first class of Kansas City-area graduates from the innovative Career Online High School includes a 31-year-old mother of four who made a point of carving out a couple of hours a day to work toward her diploma, another mother who juggled classes with two children and two jobs, and a nearly a dozen others marking their later-in-life return to school a success.

The group of 13 students – some already enrolled in college – graduates Thursday, November 9, 2017, at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library, 4801 Main St. The 6 p.m. ceremony is open to the public.

“I did it for my children,” says Renee Dupree of Kansas City, echoing the sentiment of a number of graduates. “I’m their role model.”

Career Online High School (COHS) is a fully accredited online high school program offered in Kansas City through the partnership of the Kansas City Public Library, Mid-Continent Public Library, and Literacy KC. The flexible, self-paced program confers both accredited high school diplomas and certification in selected career paths.

Participants have up to 18 months to complete coursework, and can graduate in as few as six months by transferring previously earned high school credits.

The Kansas City Public Library, MCPL, and Literacy KC have provided scholarships for more than two dozen COHS students.

Dupree, a mother of two who worked two jobs while taking classes, managed to complete her classes sooner than she expected. “It was a lot of early mornings, a lot of late nights, and going off three to four hours of sleep,” she says. “But my children played a major part. When they see me on my laptop, they say, ‘Mommy’s doing homework. Let’s be quiet.’ ”

She plans to move on to college, and has been accepted at the University of Texas at Arlington. 

Nela Bruner finished her COHS coursework, with a career focus on office management, in 20 months. The 31-year-old mother of four already is enrolled in classes at Kansas City Kansas Community College, where she works. 

“It was very detail oriented, and I learned a lot,” she says. “I was expecting (the work to be) worse, but I dedicated a couple hours a day and it wasn’t bad at all.”

Forty-one Kansas City-area students are currently enrolled in Career Online High School through the two libraries and Literacy KC, and additional scholarships are available. For information, go to

The program receives major funding from the Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee; the Friends of the Kansas City Public Library; UMB Big Bash; the R.A. Long Foundation; PNC Bank, and U.S. Bank.  

Contact: Courtney Lewis

Mary Altman

Kate Brown


Image icon COHS_email_logos-01.png61.01 KB