Cengage and McDonald’s Celebrate Online High School Graduates: Janelle Brown

Janelle Brown
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As we celebrate an important milestone of the Cengage partnership with McDonald’s—100 employee graduates of Career Online High School—we’re profiling some graduate experiences. Here is Janelle’s story.

Career Online High School Success Story: Janelle Brown

Janelle Brown is a 42 year-old resident of Newport, Michigan, not far from Detroit. She has worked for McDonald’s for the past 11 years in franchise-owned restaurants in Michigan, recently transferring from a location in Wyandotte to Flat Rock.

Over her tenure, she mastered just about every job at McDonald’s, but one thing she hadn’t done was earn her high school diploma. Suffering from bullying, Janelle dropped out of high school in her junior year. But a high school diploma was something she always wanted to earn.

After seeing a flier in her restaurant about Career Online High School, part of McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity employee education program, Janelle decided to go back to school to get her diploma.

“I have to do this,” she thought at the time. Janelle was driven to be a good example for her four daughters, especially for her teen daughter who was considering dropping out of high school.

Sacrifices on the Road to Graduation

Choosing homeland security as a career study, she began her journey. But her path was not without its challenges.

At first, she didn’t have internet access at home, which is necessary for doing her coursework. This meant Janelle often had to spend time at the local library or at a friend’s house doing her lessons,  adding time away from her children. But her “just do it” attitude kept her going through the program. Many nights she didn’t go to bed until 2 or 3 a.m. when she finished her coursework.

Her hard work and dedication paid off when Janelle graduated from Career Online High School in February 2017. She even earned her diploma in exactly one year, much quicker than the 18 months allotted for the program.

“I was overwhelmed with joy,” said Brown. “I cried liked a baby,” she admitted with a laugh.

Fostering Success in Others

Since earning her diploma, Janelle’s been promoted to Crew Trainer at McDonald’s and hopes to go on to more schooling in the field of forensic science.

She now advises others who are considering going back to school to put down the remote, put down the cell phone and do it.

“What do you have to lose?” asks Brown? “I do know you have so much to gain.”

Read about the Cengage and McDonald’s partnership