TWO CARDINAL HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS TO GRADUATE WITH ASSOCIATES DEGREES

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Second Consecutive Year District Scholars Have Achieved This Goal

Middlefield, OH – For the second consecutive year, Cardinal High School will graduate not one, but two seniors with high school diplomas and college Associates Degrees. This year’s dual graduates are Erica Kish and Anthony Sinito, who, after Friday, May 22, will have both a Cardinal High School diploma and an Associate’s Degree from Lakeland College. Kish and Sinito are just the third and fourth students to achieve this goal in Cardinal High School history. The first two were members of the Class of 2019. 

The Lakeland Community College Associate of Arts degree requires the successful completion of 61 semester credits with a 2.0 minimum grade point average. Both Kish and Sinito began taking classes at Lakeland during their junior year of high school. “I wanted to pursue this route instead of taking traditional high school classes because I thought it would be a great way to build college credits up to hopefully transfer to whatever college I wanted to go to after high school,” Kish says. More than 40 of her Lakeland credits will transfer to John Carroll University, where Kish will attend school this fall. A majority of Sinito’s earned credits will also follow him to Gannon University in the fall. “I am very glad I chose to challenge myself by taking college classes while still in high school,” Sinito says. “Not only did I earn dual credits, but I also saved time and money by completing this coursework now.” 

Through the Lakeland CCP program, credits earned may also be used to fulfill high school graduation requirements. To be considered for admission into the 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. “It was definitely tough and I spent many long, grueling nights finishing coursework and studying, but I am very happy with how everything turned out,” Kish shared. She and Sinito both took English, science, math, and humanities classes during their time at Lakeland. Sinito says, “The coursework was difficult when expected but I found myself enjoying some of it and regardless of whether I liked the clases, I always retained a degree of knowledge.” 

Sinito plans to major in Biomedical Engineering at Gannon University. He says his experience at Lakeland has prepared him for the road ahead and he highly recommends the non-traditional path to anyone who may be considering it. “No matter what you’ve heard about it, as long as you have a great counselor you will get the professors that will help you succeed, there is no downside to it,” he says. 

Similar sentiments from Kish, who feels she is more prepared now to pursue a double major in Chemistry and Art History at John Carroll thanks to her time at Lakeland. “I feel an immense amount of satisfaction in taking more than 50 credits worth of college courses while still being a high school student,” she says. “For anyone who is considering the College Credit Plus program, really consider taking it if you want to go to college in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed the program because it led me to get a taste of what college is going to be like and helped to save money.” 

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. Here at Cardinal students are able to begin an advanced course pathway starting in seventh grade. Eighth graders are able to earn high school credit by taking high-school level math and science courses. Cardinal High School offers 12 CCP class options which give students a chance to earn up to 41 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. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic Lakeland Community College did not hold in-person graduation ceremonies and instead held a social media recognition on May 9. Cardinal High School is allowing seniors to sign up for individual appointments the week of May 18-22, to walk the stage and receive their diploma in front of four family members. 

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