by Karen Woodfork

(Editor's Note: Karen Woodfork is the high school coordinator at the Hadley School for the Blind.) Who is a Hadley High School Graduate?

Someone who is determined to succeed! Someone who has chosen to persevere despite all odds! Someone who is resolute in improving his or her quality of life!

The majority of Hadley's high school students are adults between 30 and 90 years of age who are interested in obtaining a diploma to achieve a personal goal. Most do not desire to pursue a college degree, although some have successfully aspired to the challenge.

During their high school years, these students were unable to earn a diploma because of low vision, inaccessible course materials, multiple disabilities, etc. And now, years later, they realize the importance of achieving a high school education.

When potential high school students inquire about our program, they begin the conversation by discussing their visual impairment and confide how long it has been (20, 30, 40 years) since they were part of a school setting. As I describe Hadley's program and accessible course formats, explaining that they will be able to study at their own pace in the privacy of their own homes, I hear a sigh of relief. Upon learning that they will be assigned to a specific course instructor who will grade and return each assignment with constructive comments, I sense a determination to succeed. They are thrilled that Hadley is going through the entire process with them one step at a time. They are gratified to discover they will not have to complete an entire course on their own and are seemingly fortified in their resolve that they can, indeed, earn a passing grade. Improving their quality of life and obtaining that once-elusive diploma becomes their primary focus!

Hadley's high school program is available to individuals 14 years of age and older who reside within the United States. They need to be able to read and write at the middle school level in order to complete the course work successfully. Core courses in the areas of English, math, social studies and science are required. Braille literacy courses are available also. Courses are available in braille, large print and audio. Online courses are being developed as well.

Among our 100-plus courses, we offer elective courses in areas of independent living, business writing, technology, foods and recreation. A complete course catalog is available online at To enroll, or for more information, contact Karen Woodfork at 1-800-526-9909.

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