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Students set to receive Associates Degree along with high school diploma

Left: Chris Hall and Right: Remy Simpson will be receiving their Associates Degrees from Dallas Mountain View College two weeks prior to DHS's graduation.

Left: Chris Hall and Right: Remy Simpson will be receiving their Associates Degrees from Dallas Mountain View College two weeks prior to DHS's graduation.

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Caps. Gowns. Cords. It’s once again that time of year for seniors to make their final high school memories and walk across the stage and into the real world. Some may have crawled their way to the finish line of graduation, but some have come running full speed. This year, two students will walk across not only one stage, but two.

Seniors Christopher Hall and Remy Simpson will become the first ever DISD students to graduate with their associate’s degree from Mountain View College. Along with several other students earning certificates from their career path, the two college-bound upperclassmen are lessening their college years and saving money by working towards this achievement. Attempting this goal required Hall and Simpson to first qualify to take college courses by passing the TSI or alternate score testers and then take specific courses to assure their additional degree. The hard work and effort they put in to be awarded their associate’s will reap its rewards in their post-high school years. Hall and Simpson will walk across the stage at the Inspiring Body of Christ(IBOC)  tonight at 6:30 receiving a full Associates Degree in their perspective fields. 

“I thought it was kind of pointless to graduate high school just to go to school for an additional 46 years so that’s why I made every effort possible to reduce that amount of time,” senior Christopher Hall said. “I was very determined and dedicated and ambitious to take care of business. My teachers were really supportive so I thank them for that.”

Students must take and achieve at a high level in certain AP and dual credit courses, classes which count as college credit, in order to receive their associate’s. Both Hall and Simpson were dedicated and studious in receiving credit for these tougher-than-average courses and in result succeeded.

“I did this mostly because I saw what my mom did and I really wanted to go further than what she went to do and I wanted to do more than what my brother did,” senior Remy Simpson said. “They all have masters. I decided to get it early and be more successful so I can make a name for myself. It takes so much extra hours, so much work, so much dedication. You have to come to school and not only do high school, you have to do college.”

Whatever their motivation for furthering themselves in their college career pathway, several students had the same idea as Simpson. Others will receive certificates specific to their career endorsement and will be on track to receive their Associates Degree next year.

Senior Melissa Perez is pursuing architectural employment opportunities. She will be receiving Architectural Drafting and CAD Operator certificates upon graduation.

“I chose to earn them because its something that I love to do and I want to pursue in the future. The process of earning them is actually pretty tough. When you’re on break, you’re technically not on break because you’re still taking classes to get those hours in,” Perez says. “I’ll have more experience than other students would. I’ll know what I’m doing and hopefully it’ll expose me to other people to be able to have a better job. I plan to finish off my associate’s after high school. After that I will be starting as a junior in college.”

These three seniors are all in agreement when asked to advise underclassmen on their senior year and future plans.

“Being a senior I would definitely recommend taking many dual credit and AP classes,” Perez says. “You’ll get a lot of stuff out of the way. I’m not going to say they’re easy but its pretty easy if you put your heart into it. If I were to go back that is definitely something I would do and to make sure to not procrastinate. It is no joke.”

Several juniors are already getting a headstart on receiving their associate’s degree as they take some of the courses needed and map out their senior year schedule in order to ensure it they complete the rest. The history making seniors are part of a huge leap in the right direction the entire school is taking.

“We [DHS] have traditionally used more seats in classes and offered more dual credit classes than any other school partnered with Mountain View College,” CTE director Carla Coggins said.  “I believe the change is within the individual students that make up DHS, as they view themselves as students with goals and purposes within their educational setting. Accomplishing an Associate Degree doesn’t just ‘happen’; it does with planning and perseverance.”

Duncanville students are always encouraged to dream big and go far and these decorated students have set an example of that. One new addition to campus has been the ‘college wall’ displaying the many schools DHS students have personally been accepted to with a sense of pride. Both Hall and Simpson have big plans for their next steps in education.

Christopher Hall will be attending the McCombs school of business at the University of Texas at Austin and studying international business. Remy Simpson with be attending the University of North Texas in Denton on a full scholarship for film and media arts and plans on becoming a film director at some point in her life.

Hall gives one last piece of advice for those who still have a ways left in high school.

“If there’s any opportunity you can take to greatly save the amount of money you spend and reduce the amount of time you’ll spend in college, absolutely go for it,” Hall said.  “I’m grateful that I’ve had so many teachers and different support systems that have allowed me to obtain an associate’s degree. I’m really humbled by it.”

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