Senior to Graduate with Associates Degree

Ashlee Burns, Staff Writer, 18'

After several long years of hard work, it’s common for graduating high school students to receive their diploma, but something rarely achieved is a high school student graduating already with an associate degree.

Allen Russell, a senior and Calallen Charter School student, has worked long and hard to earn his Associates in Liberal Arts two years earlier than his peers.

“Back when I was in Orange Grove, I started doing college classes at Coastal Bend College in Alice, and it just clicked in my mind that it would be cool to get an associate degree in Liberal Arts,” Russell said. “It was the hardest decision I ever made while I was in high school, and my parents didn’t make it easy for me either.”

Allen received a lot of support and motivation from his family, who helped him achieve his goal of earning a college degree before graduating high school.

“My parents and grandparents started pushing me a little harder once I gained more hours. They started pushing me by telling me to keep up with my college work, pay the expenses before the deadline, get your books before class begins, and check the syllabus once you get your classes,” Russell said. “Then, once I got the hang of college work and the dedication and time it takes, they saw me performing pretty well and soon it became like second nature to me.”

The principal of the Calallen Charter School, Dr. Cunningham, is proud of Allen for not only graduating high school as a Del Mar College graduate, but also as an honors student.

“Allen was able to accomplish this by taking dual credit courses and being very strategic about the courses that he needed for both high school graduation and his college degree plan,” Cunningham said. “We certainly hope more students who are ready for this challenging pathway will choose to earn their college degree.”

After endless amounts of hard work, Allen Russell finally reached his goal. His perseverance and commitment helped him achieve the seemingly impossible.

“Not only did I pass all of my classes with A’s, but I also got all 60 hours, which gets me an associate degree,” Russell said. “I wanted to make the impossible possible by working hard for a goal I set forth.”

Thanks to his principal and his encouraging family, Allen is two years ahead of his peers and has saved himself two years of college by putting his everything into his education.

“If anyone wants advice from me about getting my degree, this is what I’ve got to say: college can be easy, but you must be persistent and determined,” Russell said. “You may have to sacrifice something that you love to do in order to achieve something more valuable than a social status or a few friends, but once you walk the stage with people older than you it’ll be all worth the while.”