Twenty-year-old James Lupardus of Callahan, FL found two key elements that attracted him to Smart Horizons Career Online High School (SHCOHS). First was the opportunity to get “two for one” and earn both a SACS-accredited high school diploma and a career certificate, and second was the online learning program that took the stress out of school work.

Originally from Jacksonville, FL, Lupardus attended two different local high schools during his teen years. By the time he enrolled in the second school, his grade point average had declined to such a point that he was required to earn all As and Bs in order to stay in school. One C necessitated a move to an adult high school where Lupardus intended to complete his 12th grade year. “I didn’t want to be the first person in my family since 1919 to not get a high school diploma,” he said.

But Lupardus continued to struggle to complete his courses while balancing the demands of two jobs. That was when he discovered SHCOHS.

Lupardus switched to SHCOHS in February of this year when he discovered that he could earn a career certificate in Homeland Security while also completing courses for his high school diploma. The Homeland Security Certificate was required for him to continue working as a volunteer fireman, which he has done since the age of 16. Lupardus also works at Eason’s Feed and Western Wear in Callahan.

“Smart Horizons Career Online High School just offered me more for my time,” Lupardus said. “I believe in getting two for one instead of one for one whenever I can. I also saw that Smart Horizons Career Online High School was going to help me more in the long run.”

He says that the convenience of taking his courses online—around his busy work schedule—coupled with the support he received from his academic coach, made all the difference for him.

He also liked the way SHCOHS broke down the coursework for students.

“It’s arranged so that it never seemed like reading a textbook,” he said. “If you needed help, everything was right there in front of you. You didn’t have to hop around to different websites. This took the stress out of doing the school work and that makes things a whole lot easier.”

Lupardus completed all the academic coursework for his high school diploma and career certificate, graduating in early October. “I would most definitely recommend this program to other students,” he said.