Some graduating high school students in Maryland earned college degrees a few days before they’ll receive their high school diplomas thanks to a program that gives them a big head start on very bright futures.
They’re part of this year’s 27 graduates of the Montgomery County Public School System’s Middle College Program at Northwood High School in Silver Spring.
Students in the program start taking college-level courses in 10th grade and spend their entire senior year taking classes at Montgomery College — virtually this year because of the pandemic.
“I wanted to do the program because I really wanted to challenge myself,” said Leila N’Diaye. “And also, I really wanted to get into the college environment and get myself used to taking these harder classes.”
“I always wanted to take the hardest classes that you could, just for the fun of it,” Andrew Cudd said. “And then I quickly realized how good of an opportunity this program was, and how I could save a lot of time and money in the future.”
For most, the program will trim the course work for a four-year degree down to two years.
“You’ll kind of have that knocked out when you get there, which is super good,” Katherine Salmeron said.
Janet Rosetti, who maintained a 4.0 grade-point average in her college classes, said she did it for herself and her family.
“I’m going to be saving them money, also, which I’m sure they appreciate, and just getting a head start on life, which my dad told me last night, like coming from an immigrant family, he came from Mexico to here, he’s just like really proud,” she said.
“College graduation is at the end of May, and we usually don’t graduate until June, so we got a couple weeks we can say, ‘We got a degree before we even got a diploma,’” program coordinator Michael Sauter said.
The program is on track to see 55 students earn both an associate’s degree and their high school diploma at the same time.
The Middle College Program began in 2018. It is currently offered by application at Clarksburg, Northwest and Northwood high schools in Montgomery County.