Student graduates from high school, college in springPublished 7:38pm Thursday, April 5, 2012
A Buchanan senior is getting a head start on her education. A big head start.
Samantha Gerard isn’t just graduating from high school this spring — she’s also graduating from Lake Michigan College.
In fact, she will be getting her associate’s degree in art from LMC close to a month before getting her high school diploma.
LMC’s graduation is May 6. Buchanan High’s is June 3.
“I always wanted to get a jump start on college,” Gerard said.
Gerard began taking college classes at LMC at the beginning of her junior year as part of a program called the Early College Academy, which is offered through Berrien County Career and Technical Education.
Through the program, students can earn high school and college credits at the same time through a variety of ways.
Gerard knew it was the program for her.
“I look into it and thought, wow. This is an amazing deal,” she said. “I put in an application, was interviewed and was able to get in.”
Gerard actually spent more time at LMC than she did at Buchanan.
Gerard said she only took band class at the high school the past two years. Her other classes, such as English and math, were taken at Lake Michigan College’s Niles and Napier campuses.
The courses counted towards high school and college credits.
“It was like I was double dipping,” she said.
Gerard said the school picked up the tab for tuition and books. She did, however, take and pay for summer classes in order to graduate from LMC sooner.
Not only will Gerard be graduating from LMC in May, she is one of two speakers at the LMC graduation. Gerard had to audition in front of an eight-person panel before being accepted to speak.
“I have a speech written, and it’s basically about the opportunities LMC presented to me and how setting and reaching goals is the best thing to do,” she said.
After graduating, Gerard plans to attend Missouri State University this fall to get a bachelor’s degree in pre-chiropractic. Then, she will go to Palmer College of Chiropractic.
Gerard plays euphonium in the school band and works part time at Famous Dave’s.
“I don’t have a lot of free time,” she said.