JAZMYN PALMER, right, with McDonald’s owner/operator Twila Mezan.

McDonald’s ‘Archways to Opportunity’ program provided quite the opportunity for team member Palmer

Jazmyn Palmer was this close to getting her high school diploma.

“High school was easy for me,” she said.

But Palmer admitted that her behavior was the main issue. “Once I was kicked out as a senior, two weeks shy of graduating, I had lost all hope of getting a diploma. My parents wanted me to go back but I had lost all hope and motivation, so I focused more on work instead.”

‘Getting my diploma was the best feeling I’ve had since I lost my sister. She was and is truly my motivation, even after death.’
It’s a story that isn’t necessarily uncommon to some high school-aged students in the Pittsburgh area. But Palmer’s story dives deeper. “In 2014, I lost my sister, who was my biggest motivator. Losing her sent me into a sort of depression that I can’t describe. Every day I thought about how she wanted me to get my diploma and how her 8-year-old daughter looks up to me, so I knew it was time.”

A McDonald’s employee at the Pittsburgh International Airport location, Palmer, with the encouragement of store owner Twila Mezan, enrolled into the McDonald’s “Archways to Opportunity” program.

Launched in 2015, Archways to Opportunity is a workforce education program that, according to its website, has enrolled more than 5,000 people. The program provides assistance in earning a high school diploma, receiving tuition assistance for college classes, and helping learn English.

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