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Tarpon Springs resident Danielle Hunsicker, center, received a plaque from, from left, Library Director Cari Rupkalvis and city commissioners Rea Sieber, David Banther and Susan Kikta on Nov. 16. The plaque honors the mother-of-three for being the first graduate of the city’s Career Online High School program.

TARPON SPRINGS – The city recognized the first person to graduate from the Career Online High School program available to adults 19 and up through the Tarpon Springs Public Library.

During the Nov. 6 City Commission meeting, the three commissioners in attendance, as well as Library Director Cari Rupkalvis presented the cyber-grad, Danielle Hunsicker, with a plaque commemorating her achievement.

“I’m very pleased to be here tonight to talk about our Career Online High School Program and to celebrate our first graduate, Danielle Hunsicker,” Rupkalvis said. “The program offers adults the opportunity to get an accredited high school diploma as well as a career certificate in their chosen field, all completely online.”

Rupkalvis said the Career Online High School is offered at libraries across the nation and in Florida is funded by the state.

“They have a chance not only to earn their high school diploma and transform their life that way, but also to be prepared for the workforce with a career certificate in a high demand, high growth field like office management, child care, homeland security and customer service,” she said.

The program is open to adults 19 and older who live in Pinellas County and have a library card.

Rupkalvis then introduced Hunsicker, who worked for more than a year and a half to complete the program.

“She’s a Tarpon Springs resident and mother of three and we’re so excited to acknowledge her for her achievement in graduating from the Career Online High School program and earning her career certificate in homeland security,” Rupkalvis said.

Hunsicker received a loud ovation from the crowd, which included several of her family members. She then accepted the congratulatory plaque from Commissioners David Banther, Rea Sieber and Susan Kikta.

After posing for several photos, Hunsicker said a few words about her achievement.

“I would like to thank the library staff for the opportunity they have given me to achieve my high school diploma,” she said. “Next, I want to thank my mother and father for lending me an ear and cheering me on when my lower self had the best of me.”

Hunsicker concluded by stating, “last, but not least, I want to thank myself for accomplishing something that I thought I couldn’t achieve while becoming my higher self” before sending a message to her children.

“Don’t let anyone, or thing, determine who you are. Only you can do that,” she said. “Your brain is your weapon, that’s how you fight back. Remember, knowledge is power.”

For more information on the Career Online High School, visit tarponlibrary.org/cohs.