Early College Academy Students Earn High School Diploma and College Degree in Same Week


KANSAS CITY, Mo. —More than 900 students received degrees from the Metropolitan Community College system this week, but 50 of them attended their college graduations within two days of their high school graduations.

Students from Raytown and Kansas City public schools who took part in the Early College Academy program were able to earn enough college credit to graduate with associate’s degrees.

Queen Wilkes, one of the participants in the program, said she’s thankful for the opportunity. She said she expects to have her bachelor’s degree by the time she’s 20 and a master’s degree by the time she’s 21.

Wilkes, who said she will finish her education at Denver University, said it feels good to be a leg up on all of the other students her age.

“We’ve just been talking about, ‘Oh, I took AP classes and I don’t know which credits are going to transfer,’ and I’m, like, ‘All my credits are going to transfer. I’m going to be a junior,’” she said. “And they’re, like, ‘Awww, that’s not cool. You can’t hang out with us,’ It’s OK. I feel good about it.”

This is the third year of graduations for the Early College Academy program and this graduating class is the largest to date.