Two employees earned their high school diploma and receive a honorary graduation celebration at the ARCS McDonald’s Management Office located in Hemet, California
On November 9, Inland Empire McDonald’s Franchisee Randell Baremor honored two employees, Guest Services Manager Maria Emery and Kitchen Department Manager Alejandra Arellano who earned their high school diploma in a honorary graduation celebration at the ARCS McDonald’s Management Office in Hemet.
For 10 years, Maria and Alejandra have worked under the Golden Arches demonstrating accountability, motivation and dedication to their restaurant teams. Maria had to put her education aside to help care for her elderly mother-in-law. After learning about several other employees in the organization earning their degrees through the program, she enrolled with Career Online High School and earned a degree for herself through grit & determination and the support of her McDonald’s team members and Owner/Operator.
Alejandra’s goal-oriented nature propelled her to pursue her degree through the program. With English being her second language, she challenged herself to stay on track and kept her restaurant team updated on her progress monthly.
Archways to Opportunity has supported its community of diverse crew members to earn a high school diploma, take ESL classes, get tuition assistance and receive free educational and career guidance.
Hispanic Lifestyle asked Maria and Alejandra about achieving their education milestone.
Hispanic Lifestyle: How did you balance working at McDonald and finishing your degree? What programs, resources and coaches did you use?
Maria Emery (ME): Career Online High School allowed me to balance getting my diploma with my work and personal life. After taking care of my late-Mother-in-Law, I was determined to pursue my degree as she had always encouraged me to do. Along the way, my COHS coach Leigh Porch, Linda Torres and of course my colleague Alejandra provided the support I needed to get my degree and I couldn’t have done it without them.
Alejandra Arellano (AA): Career Online High School allowed me to balance my home and work life. It took much dedication, commitment, the support of my family and work-family – they all kept me motivated. The resources the coach provided me with were very helpful, especially the technology that makes it more accessible for me to navigate and learn from.
Hispanic Lifestyle: What advice would you give to others who desire to complete their High School Education and continue to work?
ME: I would encourage people interested in finishing their high school education to believe in yourself, don’t give up and surround yourself with people who will support you. My support system helped me stay on track to earn my degree.
AA: I would encourage people interested in finishing their high school education to set goals and follow them. There is great satisfaction in achieving those obstacles, you need to trust the process and keep going.
Hispanic Lifestyle: What are your next goals, professionally?
ME: Health is very important to me, so my dream has always been to pursue college courses or programs for Dietitians through McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity tuition reimbursement program.
AA: I would love to continue to pursue higher education, which I can achieve with the support of the education benefits McDonald’s has to offer. I am most interested in exploring programs & courses in interior design.
Hispanic Lifestyle: What were your feelings about this achievement and coming out of the graduation ceremony?
ME: I feel very grateful to be part of such an supportive organization. It’s a good feeling to have my team cheering me on and I know my late-husband and mother-in-law are smiling down on me.
AA: The whole experience of achieving this goal has been very special and rewarding to me and my family. From the orientation to going through this new challenge alongside my colleague and with the support of my family, I am very grateful for the opportunity.