Hundreds of seniors receive associate’s degrees alongside diplomas

Members of the HAIS Class of 2015

Members of the HAIS Class of 2015

A high school diploma looks better when it’s next to an associate’s degree.

That’s why several HISD campuses offer students the opportunity to obtain an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science degree from Houston Community College while they’re still in high school. More than 300 HISD seniors met the challenge this year, enabling them to graduate with an associate’s degree as well as a diploma.

The number of students graduating with associate’s degrees has risen steadily since 2010. This year’s figures are as follows: 60 from Challenge Early College HS; 102 from East Early College HS; 2 from Empowerment South Early College HS; 52 from Futures Academy; 43 from Houston Academy for International Studies; and 53 from North Houston Early College HS.

“We infuse college information at each grade level, in every subject, and at every opportunity,” said Principal Tamera Bolden of East Early College HS. “Our first-generation college-going students understand that their mission is to graduate from a college or university.”

Bolden attributed the high number of students receiving an associate’s degree from East Early College to a combination of student dedication and school support.

“Our students work hard and come to school every day,” Bolden said. “Their hard work and strategic scheduling, plus support on the high-school side allow our students to be successful.”

Middle College at Gulfton and Middle College at HCC Felix Fraga also offer early college programs, but just completed their first years of operation.