Carmen Colón has achieved her dream of earning a high school diploma through Career Online High School (COHS).

Established in 2011 as a partnership between Smart Horizons Career Online Education and ed2go (, COHS offers a career online high school program that allows students to earn an 18-credit high school diploma while also completing coursework for a credentialed career certificate. SHCOE is the world’s first AdvancED/SACS accredited online school district. ed2go is a leading provider of online courses for adult and continuing education students with over 2 million students enrolled in various courses.

Now in her 40s, Colón had not had the opportunity to pursue her education since completing the ninth grade in her native Puerto Rico. She was 15 then, expecting her first child, and preparing to move to the United States.

“I knew I had to dedicate myself to my family,” Colón said.

A resident of Satellite Beach, FL, Colón began her COHS coursework in July of 2011. Not only was she able to pick up where she’d left off with her high school subjects almost three decades earlier, she also launched into coursework for a career certificate in Office Management.

“I’ve been working in an accounting office for 15 years, but after careful consideration and realizing that with this diploma I have more options, I’ve decided to pursue a career in health care,” Colón said. “I believe that helping others is one of the most important things in life. I also would like to volunteer and show young teen moms that they can still graduate from high school even while at home with their babies. I want them to know that teen pregnancy doesn’t have to end their pursuit of an education and career and that they can reach high and accomplish their dreams.”

When she decided to finally earn her diploma, the convenience of taking courses on her own schedule and the easy-to-follow nature of the program offered by COHS both appealed to Colón. “I also liked knowing that when you’re done you have the skills and knowledge to move on to higher education and a better job,” she said.

In thanking people who were instrumental in helping her achieve her education goals, Colón started with Susan McLeod, Lead Academic Coach for COHS.

“Susan was like my guardian angel,” she said. “It’s like she knew when and how to encourage me and was always there for me. She is one of those people who I will always remember. When most people look back on their school years, there was a teacher who made the difference in their lives. Mine is Susan. Knowing that a person is there to help you is a plus in this program.”

Colón also had special praise for Bill Hart, Technical Support Representative for COHS. “Every time I had a problem, Bill was there for me. He would either email or call me and fix anything necessary to keep me going.”

Colón’s own dreams find her preparing to begin classes in the Medical Assistant program at Brevard Community College in Melbourne, FL.