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Long last diplomas

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Some North Carolinians who didn’t graduate from high school, may now be eligible to receive their high school diplomas after all. A change in state law affects students who did not pass competency tests in reading and math, and/or the computer skills tests.

This law affects former students from as far back as the class of ’81. To be eligible, applicants must have passed all other graduation requirements.

Latasha Allison says not having a high school diploma has made it tough to find a job. “The math competency test, that’s what held me back.”

But a change in state law will help her dream of getting that diploma come true.

“The only students that are eligible for this are those who met graduation requirements, other than passing the competency test in reading, math, or computer skills,” said Rick Holliday, NHC Schools Asst. Superintendent.

The competency test examines reading, math, and basic computer skills at an eighth grade level. From 1981 to July of this year, passing the test was required to get a high school diploma.

Under the new requirement, high school students still have to pass five end-of-course exams in subjects like algebra and English, but the competency test has been eliminated.

The law is retro-active, meaning some former students will finally get their high school diploma.

“Oh, it was a blessing for me, it was a doorway to open definitely and I just feel like I have an opportunity now to pursue my career,” Allison said.

Allison had been taking GED classes in hopes of passing the math portion of the competency test. She says now she can focus on earning her culinary degree, and maybe one day open a restaurant. “That was my dream, and I wasn’t going to let anything stop me. I was determined.”

Students who dropped out of high school are not affected by the rule change. Former students can contact their high schools to see if they’re eligible. Students have through July 2014 to petition their schools.

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Story summary

videoSome North Carolinians who didn’t graduate from high school, may now be eligible to receive their high school diplomas after all. A change in state law affects students who did not pass competency tests in reading and math, and/or the computer skills tests.

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