December 12, 2019
How many high school juniors do you know who are also juniors in college? Meet Erin (pictured above). She came to our school two years ago as a freshman wanting to earn college credits while in our high school. She wanted it so bad, that she worked hard and earned a full Associate Degree from Ivy Tech by the time she completed her sophomore year of our high school. She graduated Summa Cum Laude, too. In August, she was accepted by Purdue University Northwest in a degree-track program as a junior in college and will earn a full bachelor's degree in biotechnology before she graduates from our high school in Gary, Indiana in 2021. She's earning her college degrees, we are paying for all of it.
Erin will be our second Gary student to achieve this goal. She was inspired by our first student--Raven Osborne (pictured below) who did it in 2017. Raven earned her Associate Degree from Ivy Tech in 2015 and then challenged us to let her keep taking more college classes while staying in our high school. After learning this was legal, we told Raven she had our full support. Who knew she would actually go on to earn her full bachelor's degree? She did. We supported. We all celebrated!
As a result of Raven's push, we changed our school model from early college to college immersion. We challenge traditional thinking and traditional results every day. Our students love it. In fact, they choose our school because we support their college and career aspirations fully and completely--paying their tuition, textbook fees, and providing transportation and staff support so they are indeed successful.
As best I can tell, Erin and Raven are the only high school students in Indiana and the United States to attempt and to accomplish this feat. But they won't be the last! We have several younger students--freshmen and sophomores in our school attempting to do the same thing. Pretty cool!
Raven, by the way, is college-debt free at 22, has her bachelor's degree and has been teaching for us for the past four years--paying into her retirement fund, collecting a (nice) paycheck, enjoying full health benefits, and contributing back to the Gary community. She is empowered to conquer the world! Now that's really cool!