After years of hard work and determination, an Ohio teenager has a college degree under his belt and it’s just in time for his high school graduation — in 2021.
Cameron Ray, a 17-year-old junior at Warrensville Heights High School, proudly crossed the stage to accept his associate degree of arts from Cuyahoga Community College on Tuesday, Dec. 17, becoming the youngest student in the suburban Cleveland district to graduate from the local college.
“Everyone is usually pretty surprised when I tell them I’m only a junior in high school,” Ray told local media.
The teen, who plans to study film directing at Cleveland State University next semester, said he’s learned some valuable lessons while attending the college campus, such as time management and the importance of balancing his academics and his social life.
“I’ve learned that sometimes it’s the best things in life you’ll be fearful of,” he added. “But, you’ve got to push yourself and get acquainted.”
After lots of hard work and discipline, WHHS student Cameron Ray on Dec. 17 became the youngest Warrensville student ever to graduate from @TriCedu–well before he is set to graduate high school in 2021. Visit our website to read his story: https://t.co/vVd3gdZu0e #TigerPride pic.twitter.com/7WwBFRT3Nn
— Warrensville Schools (@whcs_tigers) December 18, 2019
Ray was able to get a head start at Tri-C thanks to Ohio’s College Credit Plus program. According to the Warrensville school district’s website, the dual-enrollment plan allows students in grades 7-12 the opportunity to earn high school and college credit concurrently, at no cost to parents.
The statewide program reportedly saved families an estimated $148 million in tuition in 2017-18.
Ray admitted he was a bit nervous about taking classes alongside adults on a college campus, but those butterflies soon fluttered away. The best part of being at college, he said, was the freedom.
The ambitious teen now hopes to follow the lead of other early graduates like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was admitted to the historically Black Morehouse College when he just 15 years old.
“It is something I’m especially proud of,” he said.
The Warrensville community is just as proud and showered the college grad with well wishes.
“Congratulations young man, keep it up!” one Facebook user commented.
“Hooray Cam! This is fantastic! Merry Christmas to you and your family,” another chimed in.