This is one of my favorite times of the year as we get to celebrate high school graduations. But for us, we usually celebrate two graduations–one at our high school and one with our college partners–and not necessarily in that order.
This Saturday, May 15, fifteen GEO 21st Century Charter School at Gary High School students will graduate from Ivy Tech, two weeks before 21st Century holds its graduation ceremony May 28th. Four of the students have earned full associate degrees while in high school. That’s two years of college already earned by these students. The news gets even better when I tell you that three of the associate degree earners this year are actually juniors in our high school–Shania McDonald, Nyla Dillon, and Kyleah Martin–and will return to 21st Century High School for their senior years. One of the 15 students, Kylea Mathews, is a sophomore. What a great experience for these students and a great example for others at our schools.
So, as you can see, it is a bit of a complicated story when we talk about who is graduating this year because we are not limiting our conversation to 18 year-olds and high school graduation. Our High School Class of 2021 actually features four students who earned full associate degrees–Arianna Mayes (2020), Brianna Moore (2020), Erin Lewis (2019), and Lisa Nichols (2021). Arianna and Brianna earned their associate degrees as juniors last year and were not able to participate in graduation ceremonies for Ivy Tech due to Covid canceling Ivy Tech’s 2020 in-person graduation. Erin Lewis earned her Associate Degree as a sophomore in 2019 and participated in Ivy Tech’s graduation services that year. After earning her Associate Degree, she went on to enroll at PurdueNW and to earn a full 111 college credits while in high school and is 18 credits away from earning her biotechnology bachelor’s degree from Purdue NW.
Overall, the 2021 graduating class at 21st Century Charter School earned an average of 20 college and career credits each with 18 students earning more than 30 college and career credits which puts them in the top 4% of the state of Indiana in terms of college and career credits earned while in high school.
Think of all the money and time these students have saved themselves by earning real college and career credits while in our high school. Many of our students actually go on to complete their 4-year degrees two years after their high school graduation–saving more time and money.
These are the results we look forward to celebrating soon in Baton Rouge and Indianapolis where we have sister high schools established.
So, happy graduation season. Enjoy!
Sincerely, Kevin Teasley
Founder & President