Nearly 80 high school students graduate with associate’s degrees
BOONE COUNTY, Ky. (WXIX) - It was a historic night for Boone County schools with nearly 80 high school students graduating with not only their high school diplomas but also their associate’s degree.
The 79 students earned their associate’s degree three weeks ahead of graduation from Gateway Community and Technical College, Northern Kentucky University, Thomas More, and Eastern Kentucky University.
It is a journey students say saves their families tens of thousands of dollars heading into college or allows them to get higher-paying jobs right out of high school.
To earn the degree, students needed to navigate virtual learning and a double course load of high school and college classes; with little face-to-face interaction with teachers and professors.
“It took a lot of time, and scheduling everything was probably the most important thing,” explained Kira Evans. “You have to stay on top of everything, and there’s no one there to help you really.”
Jerry Gels is the principal of the Ignite Institute and says the milestone achieved Monday goes beyond making parents proud.
“Students getting this degree or even the 30 hours, almost guarantees them statistically to graduate college in four years or less,” said Gels. “Every time you shed a year off, you gain about $15,000 in saved tuition.”
Students like Kara Hensley could not be more grateful to finish college on a full scholarship.
“I took chemistry, and I was spending like five hours straight at a library trying to solve one problem,” recalls Hensley. “It gets really tough, and you go like, I don’t think I can do this anymore, but you always can. Like, it always works itself out no matter what.”
Ignite Institute leaders said 289 students graduated in total.
Roughly 130 students are entering college as juniors, and another 38 students will have enough credits to be college sophomores.
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