Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Record 64 High School Student Grads in 2016

Image from 2015 commencement ceremony

They are being called trailblazers, overachievers and highflyers.

Bring on the accolades-- these 64 Valley high school students are garnering attention for all the right reasons. They are dual enrollment students who are on track to graduate from Rio Salado College this month before earning their high school diplomas.

President Bustamante
“It is very rewarding to see so many high school students take advantage of early college options and achieve this great accomplishment,” said Dr. Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado College. “Their success is our success and I am confident that they will continue to achieve their academic goals in the future. It takes support from high school partners, parents and the dual enrollment team at Rio to realize what can be possible.”

No other college in the state has this many college graduates among their dual enrollment students.

“Not only is this a huge achievement to graduate from high school and college simultaneously, but starting college with two years under your belt saves students an enormous amount of time and money,” said EJ Anderson, director of Rio Salado College’s dual enrollment program.

2015 Dual Enrollment Graduates
Dual enrollment students earn both high school and college credit at the same time. Classes are taught by certified instructors at the many area high schools that partner with Rio Salado College.

Sullivan Dupre is a senior at Mountain Pointe High School and overachiever extraordinaire.

He is earning both an Associate in Arts and an Associate in Science degree at Rio Salado’s commencement ceremony this evening, May 11, 2016 at the Orpheum Theater.  He will be one of 50 dual enrollment graduates attending tonight's event.

“The biggest benefit I see in dual enrollment is that it saves time and money,” said Dupre. “Because I took dual enrollment, I will already have the credits that usually take around two years to complete in college.”

Dupre is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for 2-year colleges. He said students considering dual enrollment should get involved as soon as possible.

“Enroll to get as many credits as possible,” Dupre said. “Even if you think you won't need a certain class for your major, having that extra credit will allow you to be more flexible in the future.”

2014 Westwood High School dual enrollment students
Another advantage of Rio Salado’s dual enrollment program is location.

“The biggest benefit of dual enrollment is being given the opportunity to complete a college degree without having to leave your own high school,” said Krystal Rebhun, a student at Corona Del Sol graduating who is graduating with an Associate in Arts. “You also get the same credits that you would at a university at a much smaller cost.”

Rio Salado dual enrollment team
Robert Brown works as a success coach in the dual enrollment department at Rio Salado College. He assists high school students and their parents in developing career and education pathways.

“Dual enrollment gives high school students the flexibility to finish a bachelor’s degree sooner, pursue a double-major, or take fewer credits at a time in college,” Brown said.

He added that parents get excited when they see the benefits of dual enrollment for their kids.

“One very selective university called her a trailblazer, and noted that they had not seen an incoming freshman with this type of achievement before,” said Laurie Mariani, whose daughter Mia is earning an Associate in Arts. “We are certain her opportunities will be endless having achieved this extra academic success while in high school.”

Rio Salado College – 2016 Dual Enrollment Graduates
  • Boulder Creek: Kimberly Klein
  • Brophy College Prep: James Stickell
  • Corona del Sol: Jeffery Wilcox, Karl Willette (2014), Krystal Rebhun, Tyler Le Duc
  • Deer Valley: Alec Medrano, Evan Mekenney, Madison Banbury (2015), Matthew Briody, Reese Tanner, Ryanne Karlson, Alexander Mills
  • Desert Vista: Alexandra Ferrara , Aradhana Kumar , Daniel Gulden , Gail Watterson , Marcela Delgado, Matthew Hart, Natalie Schatton, Neeku Navabi, Samuel Rosenberg, Wyatt Langs
  • Heritage: Erica Durham, Ethan Berglund, Sarah Taylor (2015), Triston Kosloske
  • Horizon: Connor Little, Matthew Thomas, Peter Godfrey
  • Marcos de Niza: Briana Estrella, Dominic Martinez, Joy Jimenez
  • Mountain Pointe: Emily Harmsen, Gen Ito, Jacob Peters, Jasmin Jackson, Jason Damp, Jordan Wachter, Lauren Rein, Meredith Grula, Sullivan Dupre
  • Xavier College Prep: Ainsley Ramsey, Andrea Gray, Ariana Salazar, Ashlynn Holloway, Bailey Stalcup, Brianna Siegle, Brie Harriel, Brielle Januszewski, Claudia Lucca, Danielle Favata, Fiona Lobo, Hailey Schwab, Hannah Cooper, Isabella Patterson, Isabella Serrano, Jessica Daniels, Julia Teeter, Leslie Zaragoza, Lisbet Maldonado, Madison Williams, Mia Mariani, Michaela Wuycheck, Miranda Albo, Monique Hasbun, Olivia Iacono, Rebeca Gardner, Royal Shoen, Sara Skornik, Sophia Deyden, Spenser Rosner, Stephanie Ashkuri, Therese Knapp, Tiffany Meyer

For more details about Rio Salado’s dual enrollment program, including scholarship opportunities, visit www.riosalado.edu/programs/dual or call 480-517-8080.

Photos of tonight's ceremony and participating dual enrollment graduates will be available for download via www.facebook.com/RioSaladoCollege.

Check back with RioNews for more stories about Rio Salado 2016 graduates in the coming days.

Contributing writer Alyssa DeMember has served Rio Salado's Academic Advisement team since 2014. She is one of several academic advisors available to help you along your educational journey.