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15 Morenci High Students receive Associate Degrees before earning their high school diplomas

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  • David Woodall/Morenci Unified School District

Proud Morenci High Students Receiving Their Associate Degrees From Eastern Arizona College. Bottom Row: Jose Cazares, Gabriel Castillo, Jordan Ortega, Marco Rojas, Shelby Aguallo And Marcus Aguallo. Top Row: Marissa Webb, Merissa Mendoza, Aaliyah Manuz, James Williams, Myles Miranda, Madelyn Olmstead And Elyssa Vigil. Not Pictured: McKayen Johnson And Alyssa Garcia. Photo Courtesy Of Morenci High School

Fifteen Morenci High School seniors were all smiles at the Eastern Arizona College Commencement Ceremony on May 12, 2017, where they received their Associate Degrees in General Studies two weeks before they will graduate from Morenci High School.

These 15 seniors represent 18 percent of Morenci High Schools graduating class of 2017, many who graduated with high honors.

These student’s completed their college degrees over the past two years while attending high school.

Although some classes were offered at Morenci High, others were taken online or through schools interactive television lab, while some required catching a 5:30 a.m. bus daily to Thatcher or traveling to night classes.  Student agreed that it had required much sacrifice, being more resourceful with their time and giving up activities they would have liked to participate in.

When asked how it felt to be receiving a college degree prior to graduating from high school, the graduates had a variety of thoughts  including “Very Proud, Appreciative, Relieved, and even Kind of Weird.

All were thankful of the tuition assistance offered by Morenci Schools and thought it provided much motivation as well as increased parental pressure.

Merissa Mendoza and Mckayen Johnson thought it was a great opportunity that required being careful with your time and although challenging would encourage others to pursue this opportunity.

Maddie Olmsted who frequently caught the 5:30 a.m. bus, noted that it had been a difficult two years but with degree in hand felt it was worth it.

Most of the graduates had plans to complete a four year degree, Shelby Aguallo is heading for NAU to pursue a pre-law program while Gabriel Castillo planned to pursue a degree in Science Education at the University of Arizona.  Destinations of the graduates also included New Mexico State, Arizona State and Tabor College

In addition Sabyn Martinez, Alyssa Murillo and Shae Sanchez received their Arizona General Education Certificate (AGEC-A).

This is awarded to students who complete all the requirements for an Associate Degree except electives.  These students are guaranteed that 35 hours will transfer to an Arizona University four year degree program.