WACO, Texas (KWTX) Some local high school graduates who crossed the stage this weekend for graduation were actually graduating for the second time.
Photo Courtesy: Waco ISD
30 students of the 800 students between Waco High School and University High School earned not only their high school diplomas Saturday but also their associate degrees from McLennan Community College.
The graduates, including senior Anastasia Reyes, were the first to complete Waco ISD’s early degree program called ACCELERATE.
“It feels amazing,” Reyes said. “All the hard work, the late nights, they actually paid off. Staying home and doing my work, I knew it would eventually pay off, and it has.”
Reyes was one of four students who earned an associate’s degree with a 4.0 grade point average for the courses she took through MCC while also a high school student.
The program was created after voters approved increasing the district’s total tax rate by five cents in 2015. A portion of that money was dedicated to expanding dual-credit opportunities through MCC AND TSTC, school officials say.
“This community made a significant investment in its high school students giving them the opportunity to earn college credit and an associate degree at no cost to their families,” Dr. Scott McClanahan, assistant superintendent of secondary education, said. “Our students take that very seriously. We have a 95% passing rate in our dual-credit classes, and we’re on track to have 45 more students earn associate degrees next year.”
Waco ISD students apply for the ACCELERATE program while in 8th grade.