Mark Wahlberg decided to go back to school online and finally get his high school diploma! “I never made it past the ninth grade,” he writes in a Huffington Post blog. “My circumstances were not unlike millions of other teens today, who live in tough working class neighborhoods surrounded by drugs, violence and crime, and who struggle to stay on the right path without positive influences. Most high school dropouts don’t end up with successful careers in Hollywood. I was lucky. Compared with high school graduates, dropouts are more likely to be unemployed, in poor health, living in poverty or on public assistance.”
About a year ago 42-year-old Mark found out he could take classes online, and he’s since been pursuing his diploma both at home and on movie sets. “It has been both humbling and challenging, but I’m happy to report that I am officially a high school graduate, having received my diploma this summer,” he says.
He isn’t just speaking out about his experience though, his charity The Mark Wahlberg Youth is working with Taco Bell’s teen outreach program Graduate for Más, which empowers kids to make a commitment to graduate. They’ve also partnered with an online high school diploma program that teens and adults can use to go back to school.
I was able to do it because I knew I wasn’t alone, that other teens and adults were going through the same thing I was in balancing work and family in order to better themselves. To those students struggling every day and – most importantly — to those who are looking for a second chance, I have a message for you: never give up. Keep believing in yourselves and don’t make small plans.
You are not alone. I can now look at my kids every day knowing that I didn’t just do this for me — I did it for them, and I did it for all the other teens and adults who have inspired me by their commitment to graduate.
If we don’t live by example, then what do we live by? I am proud to re-introduce myself to you today as:
Mark Wahlberg – High School Graduating Class of 2013.
Congratulations Mark! He definitely doesn’t need to have a high school diploma at this point, but it is a source of personal pride for him, and is a great example for his children and for all those kids out there who may be thinking about giving up school, and for teens and adults who feel discouraged because they dropped out. It’s never too late!