July 2, 2018 - by Haley Carwile

A 27-year-old mother of six now has her high school diploma, thanks to McDonald’s. Kayla Rush, who works full-time at the restaurant on Cabela Drive, received the diploma through her company’s Archway to Opportunity program. According to the company, she is the first person in the Ohio Valley to receive her diploma through that program.

“Our commitment to education reinforces our ongoing support of all McDonald’s restaurant employees,” said Bob Stoltz, who owns the McDonald’s at The Highlands and in Elm Grove.

McDonald’s launched its Archways to Opportunity program in 2015. Since then, it has helped more than 16,400 employees further their education with $21 million awarded in high school and college tuition assistance, the company said. Classes offered through the Archways to Opportunity program range from English proficiency courses to a high school completion program and even tuition assistance for those moving onto an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

This August will mark Rush’s second year working at McDonald’s.

McDonald’s high school program, Career Online High School, receives national accreditation and allows employees to pursue and earn their high school diplomas at no cost.

Rush was able to capitalize on the COHS program.

“It was difficult,” she said. “But I got through it. It felt amazing.”
Rush spent 18 months completing the necessary work, studying primarily after shifts and when her children were sleeping.

“On my days off, sometimes I would stay up until 2:30 (a.m.),” she said.

Her children, who span the ages of 2 to 14, were excited when she received her diploma, Rush said. She plans on continuing in the Archways program to go to college. Stoltz said employees can receive up to $2,500 per year through the program.

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