Kathy Castillo Illustrated the Panel’s Theme—”Front-line to Finish Line: Serving Up Second Chances for Adult Learners”

Friday, November 8 was an exciting day for Career Online High School (COHS) graduate Kathy Castillo. She was honored at the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning’s (CAEL) annual conference and keynote. Kathy completed her diploma through McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity program, which covers tuition for the high school as well as provides additional education benefits through CAEL and other partners.

The CAEL event included a panel themed “Front-line to Finish Line: Serving Up Second Chances for Adult Learners” and focused on how collaboration and innovation can lead to powerful educational and life outcomes for McDonald’s employees like Kathy.

The 20-year-old mother said she was motivated to complete the program by her 4-year-old son. She credited her COHS academic coach Gibson Garcon with providing support. “Mr. Garcon was so supportive! If it weren’t for him, I don’t think I would have graduated.”

Garcon had these words to share about his former student: “Kathy is a shining example of a resilient and determined student. During her time with Smart Horizons, she successfully navigated difficult exams and family challenges to graduate. Her son was one of her motivations for coming back to school and now that she has graduated, he has her as a positive example to follow.”


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