They’re getting college degrees ― a week before they graduate from high school

A group of high school seniors will be graduating with a college degree before they even get their high school diploma. (Source: KHNL)
Published: May. 8, 2023 at 4:58 PM HST|Updated: May. 9, 2023 at 10:03 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A group of Farrington high school seniors will be graduating with a college degree ― before they even get their high school diploma.

Eight Farrington High School seniors will be getting their associate’s degrees from Honolulu Community College during commencement this Friday.

A week later, they’ll graduate from high school.

“It feels surreal to me that it’s actually happening,” said senior Cardenas Pintor.

“I’m pretty proud of myself. I’m also kind of like shocked, I guess, that I did this,” Leilani Dela Cruz said.

It’s all made possible through programs like Early College and Running Start, which allow high school students to take college courses for free.

Over the past seven years, 80 high school students have earned associate’s degrees from UH campuses.

“It’s so amazing because I got to save a lot of money and a lot of time for my future,” said Rachelle Anne Manuel.

The students say juggling classes and their time wasn’t easy.

“I think the hardest part was the time management because it was like oh I need to complete these credits in high school and at the same time I needed to complete the college credits,” said Dela Cruz.

“With the pandemic, it was really hard for me because you had to do some classes online. I also had to learn a lot of time management, but in the end I think it all worked out,” said Pintor.

The road to a college degree started when the students were in ninth grade.

“They take one or two classes and then by the time they hit junior or senior year, they are pretty much going to college full time,” said Regan Honda, Farrington High School college and career counselor.

In two years, they can earn their bachelor’s degrees.

The eight Farrington students are already looking at careers in business, politics and the food industry.

“I think we are definitely going to have a great future for all of us especially because our associates degrees can help us get into jobs easier,” said senior Cadyn Ramos.

Honda says in a typical year at Farrington High School, about one student gets an associate’s degree.

Eight is a record ― and he expects even more next year.