Jennifer M. Jelavich of the Colusa County Office of Education snapped a photo of (from left) Stacey Zwald Costello, county librarian at the Colusa County Library, graduate Savana Crooker and Alissa Morrow,  Colusa County Free Library’s literacy coordinator, at a graduation ceremony held for Crooker on July 31. 

Technology has changed the way we do most everything these days, including how some complete their educations. 

On July 31, the Colusa County Free Library hosted a graduation ceremony for Maxwell native Savana Crooker, who received her high school diploma with an emphasis in Childcare and Education from Career Online High School.

Alissa Morrow, literacy coordinator at the Colusa County Free Library, said Crooker is not only the second graduate of the Career Online High School program in the county, but she also the is the first student in the program to finish with no previous transcript credits. 

“This shows the caliber of her dedication and drive to create a different future for herself, and her family,” Morrow said.

Crooker was able to finish all four years of high school coursework in just one years time because, she said, the self-paced and 100 percent online program allowed her to get school work done whenever possible. 

“I snuck schoolwork in every opportunity I came across, waiting rooms at doctor’s offices with the kids, sitting in parking lots waiting for the kids to get out of school,”  Crooker said. “Any spare-ish moment I came across I used.” 

Crooker said she did not intentionally choose to compete her education through this online program, although she now says its the only way she would like to take classes if possible. 

“I chose it because the library was offering a complete scholarship for the school,” Crooker said. “It was honestly the only way I could have gotten my diploma (because) it is very expensive to back to school after you’re 18.”

Morrow said Career Online High School is funded in partnership by the California State Library and the Colusa County Free Library.

“This program is not only a fully-accredited high school diploma program, but participants also earn a career certificate that they can apply in the workforce,” Morrow said.

Crooker said the only major draw back in her online educational experience is that if you are not self motivated it is really easy to skip on doing work.

“I went three weeks with out even signing into classes accidentally,” Crooker said. “My kids got sick, I got sick, lots of things happened during those three weeks. Then the next thing I realized I had not been doing my schoolwork.”

Crooker said she had already been so far ahead at that point that missing three weeks had not set her back, but she started her school work again with a vengeance.

“If one is not careful it would be easy to fall behind as there was no consequences like there would be if you missed three weeks of a brick and mortar school,” Crooker said. 

Crooker said she is now enrolled at Yuba Community College. 

“My plan is to graduate from Yuba Community College with an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education,” Crooker said. “Then hopefully attend an online university to get my Bachelor’s degree in education so I can become an elementary school teacher.”

Crooker said she may also consider going back to school down the road to focus on history and become a high school history teacher. 

Crooker told library staff that she would some day like to open a daycare facility in Maxwell as well, to put her education to good use. 

“I look forward to the day when Savana opens her own daycare to care for and shape the minds of Maxwell’s youth, with the commitment that she put forth for her own education,” Morrow said.

Crooker said she hopes sharing her experience may encourage someone else to take the steps to better their own life.

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