John Hollar is the Fifth Cardinal Student to earn Diploma and Associate Degree Under the College Credit Plus Program
Middlefield, OH – For the third consecutive year, Cardinal High School will have a senior graduate with not one but two diplomas. For John Hollar, the first came on Saturday, May 15 when he officially graduated from Cardinal High School. The second will come this summer when he receives his Associate Degree from Kent State University. Hollar will be the fifth Cardinal High School senior to earn dual degrees. “Graduating with both a high school diploma and a college degree feels well earned,” Hollar says. “I always knew I had the ability to graduate with a college degree.”
Hollar’s dual degrees are possible with Cardinal High School’s College Credit Plus (CCP) program. Cardinal High School offers 13 CCP class options which give students a chance to earn up to 45 college credits before graduation. This particular set of classes are all taught at CHS by CHS teachers. There are currently eight high school teachers who are certified to teach college-level coursework. Outside of CHS, students can take additional CCP classes online or at other colleges and universities. Credits earned via one of these two avenues also count toward both high school and college credits. Hollar’s CCP journey traveled down both paths. He began earning college credits his sophomore year of high school when he took history, art, and technology CCP classes through Lakeland Community College in addition to regular and honors classes at CHS. The experience was enough to motivate Hollar to work towards earning an Associate Degree while still in high school so the following school year he took courses full time at Kent State University. “I wanted to push myself to a higher standard than what was expected of me,” he says. “When John approached me about attending Kent full time to pursue his Associate degree, I was happy to help him work towards achieving that goal,” high school guidance counselor Mrs. Jill DeRamo says. “It’s not an easy path, especially while you’re in high school, but John has always been a dedicated student so this is very exciting to see him reach that initial goal.”
To be considered for admission into a CCP program, high school students must apply, submit high school transcripts, and take a placement test in which they are required to score high enough to place into college level English and/or math. Students are also required to clearly demonstrate they are able to handle college-level coursework. At Kent, the Associate of Applied Business degree Hollar earned required him to successfully complete 60 credit hours while maintaining a 2.0 minimum grade point average. And he did all of it while working a full time job at the Geauga County Probate and Juvenile Court. “Going to college full time and working full time at the courthouse as a high school student was challenging, but it was worth every minute,” Hollar says. “Time is the one thing no one can get more of. CCP allowed me to maximize my time and attend college for free. I would encourage any student who can take CCP classes during high school to do so.”
The Ohio Department of Education defines College Credit Plus as Ohio’s dual enrollment program that provides students in grades 7-12 the opportunity to earn college and high school credits at the same time by taking courses from Ohio colleges or universities. The purpose of this program is to enhance students’ career readiness and postsecondary success, while providing a wide variety of options to college-ready students, at no or limited costs to students and families.
Kent’s program requires CCP students to get their high school diploma before they can receive their formal college degree. Hollar has completed the required coursework and will be part of KSU’s summer graduation. Following his graduations, Hollar says he’s on to achieving his lifelong goal of serving in the Army. He says his personal, professional, and academic experiences have all prepared him for the road ahead. “I want to impact as many lives as possible and believe that the best way I can obtain that goal is by serving my country, not only to save lives, but also to ensure the security of the freedoms that America instills.”