Saturday, May 11, 2013

Graduating is Twice the Fun

Shane Cahill celebrates high school
and college graduation in the same week.
For Shane Cahill, today marks the second important event of her busy graduation week. On Wednesday, Cahill graduated from Rio Salado College with an associate degree. Today she walks across the stage at Xavier Preparatory High School to collect her high school diploma.

Thanks to Rio Salado’s dual enrollment program, Cahill was able to graduate from college and high school in the same week!

“My senior year was definitely not the easy year that many high school students have,” Cahill said. “I had to say no to many outings with friends, football games, and many other things because of the amount of work.”

Cahill’s sister had previously taken advantage of dual enrollment, where high school students can earn credit for college-level classes taken at their high school.

“Toward the end of my junior year, I realized that with changing my schedule a bit, I would be incredibly close to an associate degree at Rio Salado,” Cahill said.

Cahill tested out of a few requirements, and took classes over the summer. During her senior year of high school, Cahill added a few more classes at night so that could meet the requirements of an associate degree.

“I took 21 credits in my last semester,” Cahill said. “My parents and sister thought I was crazy. But giving up some sleep and free time was worth it. Achieving this degree will help me get to my dreams even faster than I would have before.”

Because high school students can earn college credit through dual enrollment, they benefit on several fronts. Community college tuition is a fraction of the cost of public universities. Scholarships are available, based on financial need, and credits transfer to many colleges and universities.

Rio Salado College partners with more than 40 local high schools to offer dual enrollment classes, giving thousands of students the opportunity to get a head start on college.

“I would recommend that other high school students do dual enrollment courses,” Cahill said. “It is so helpful in moving your college career along.”

Cahill’s college career plans include attending Coastal Carolina University this fall to major in Intelligence and National Security Studies.

“Having already earned an associate degree, I will be able to graduate in two and a half years, or 5 semesters,” Cahill said. She then plans to attend the Uniformed Services University for Health Sciences for medical school.

“My dream is to become a physician for the United States Navy in order to serve this great nation in the best way I can, by providing medical care to America's bravest heroes,” said Cahill.

Her dream is well on its way.

For more information about Rio Salado College’s dual enrollment program visit riosalado.edu/dual.