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Jacksonville woman earns diploma under the 'Golden Arches'

“The process to obtain my diploma was not easy, but with motivation from my McFamily and self-determination, I was able to obtain it and see a brighter future,” said Hernandez.

The McDonald’s on Western Boulevard in Jacksonville was transformed Friday morning. The fast-food chain turned into a graduation ceremony location for one Jacksonville woman.

Wade Dixon, owner/operator of the seven McDonald’s restaurants in Jacksonville, announced that one of his local employees, Jasmine Hernandez, recently earned her high school diploma through McDonald’s "Archways to Opportunity" program. Hernandez was inspired to earn her high school diploma as a starting point for her future career. “I always knew that I wanted to become a chef and learn more about the food industry,” said Hernandez. “To excel, I really felt like I needed my diploma."

Hernandez hopes to take more courses through the program, concentrating in hospitality and food and beverage, so that she can one day pursue her dream of making people happy through food. “The process to obtain my diploma was not easy, but with motivation from my McFamily and self-determination, I was able to obtain it and see a brighter future,” said Hernandez.

"Archways to Opportunity" includes a set of four programs developed to support restaurant employees across the country in pursuing their educational goals, whether it’s earning their high school diploma, pursuing a college degree, receiving academic advising, or learning English through the “English Under the Arches” program. Eligible crew members can receive up to $2,500 and eligible managers can receive up to $3,000 per year. As of this year, McDonald’s employees’ immediate family members are also eligible for the High School Diploma program – allowing them to take courses to get their high school diploma.

Over the last two years, Dixon’s organization has given more than $114,904 to more than 109 local employees. Nationally, Hernandez is part of more than 27,000 restaurant employees who’ve enrolled since the launch in April 2015.

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