September 7, 2018 - by Haley Carwile

JACKSONVILLE, NC (WITN) – While it is back-to-school season for most students in the area, today was actually graduation day for one local student.

But this graduation ceremony wasn’t where you may expect.

Some people are not able to complete high school or college but one local McDonald’s employee made the decision to finish what she started. Today she celebrated what she called “a dream come true”.

The graduation ceremony had everything you may expect. Flowers, balloons, cake, and family but, it was at McDonald’s on Western Boulevard in Jacksonville. The Archways to Opportunity program through McDonald’s offers employees the chance to get a high school diploma or college degree through tuition assistance and educational coaching.

Jasmine Hernandez said the program helped her overcome obstacles, and getting her high school diploma brings her one step closer to her dreams. She said, “I’ve been trying to do this for a long time, but with everything that’s been going on, I was worried about money but now I’m very excited to start my career.”

The program also offers immediate family members of McDonald’s employees the chance to earn a high school diploma and receive educational coaching as well.

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