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Five Firth High School seniors graduate with a college Associate of Science Degree

FIRTH:  When five Firth High School seniors graduate in the next couple weeks, they will not only walk with their fellow students to receive their high school diplomas but will walk with fellow students from the College of Eastern Idaho to receive their Associate of Science degree.

For the past three years, Strider Perry, Nateah Hawkins, Cy Marchant, Sage Morris, and Connor Johnson took dual-credit college classes and online classes from the College of Eastern Idaho to complete the 60 required credit hours of instruction to graduate with an Associate of Science degree.

“We have quite a few dual-credit classes here at the high school, and we supplement that with College of Eastern Idaho online classes to complete an Associate of Science Degree,” Early College teacher Rebecka Thayne said. “So, we go for the more technical-type degree because we have all of the science, math, and English classes and many elective classes required to receive such a degree.”

Students who desire an associate degree with their high school diploma begin the program in the spring of their sophomore year. 

“We started the spring of our sophomore year,” Firth Senior Connor Johnson said. “And we took classes every semester, spring, summer, fall, and winter, for 2 ½ years now.”

Firth high school has been running early college credit courses for many years with great success.

“I believe we have, as a single school, the most seniors graduating with an associate degree in the area,” Hawkins said. “We have 5 of the 29 seniors in the area graduating from CEI with their associate degree. And they are all doing it with high honors from CEI. Last year, we had 4 out of 16.”

Who are these students and what are their plans?

So, who are these students, and how do they motivate themselves to achieve such a lofty goal while in high school?

“I guess I’m just naturally driven, and I like to put my best effort into what I’m doing,” Firth senior Nateah Hawkins said. “I participate in sports, student council, and other things in school. And I just always put my best foot forward. It’s about managing your time and realizing how long it takes to do an assignment, so you have time to do those other activities.”

Not only are these students driven, but they know what they want in life. For example, Connor Johnson said, “My plan is going into nursing. I plan to attend ISU this fall, enter nursing, and get a bachelor’s degree. Then I will work for several years as a nurse before returning to school for my doctorate.”

Strider Perry said he is thinking of going into premed.

Nateah Hawkins wants to become a pediatrician.

Cy Marchant said he wants to become Paleontologist and study Idaho’s dinosaur fossils.

And Sage Morris said she plans on majoring in equine science at the University of Arizonia.

Tuition Saved by Early College Program

Not only do these students cut in half their undergraduate schooling, but they save several thousand dollars in tuition by taking early college courses. Based on CEI and ISU costs per credit, they have saved $7500 at the community college level and approximately $24,000 at the university level.

“We couldn’t run such a successful early college program without the hard work and dedication of the students here,” Firth Science teacher Jessica Harker said. “They are the ones choosing to take these difficult classes and get a jump start on college classes and career training. We provide the opportunities, but the students provide the effort and determination.” 

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