Dozens graduate Davenport North with diploma and Associate’s Degree

The program has awarded roughly 200 Associate’s Degrees since 2017
Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 6:49 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Back in 2013, Davenport North Principal Jay Chelf helped start a program that allows students at North to graduate high school with enough college credits to earn Associate’s Degrees.

“It was quite a process the first year we proposed it my head counselor...and I worked closely with a group of people at Eastern Iowa Community College to develop the whole program, lay it out, make it workable,” Chelf said.

Since the first group graduated in 2017, approximately 200 students have graduated from North with their Associate’s.

Alleena Blackwell is a 2021 North grad and plans to pursue a college education at Western Illinois. She said the program has helped her with finances as she plans to become an elementary school teacher.

“In the teacher program which you usually have to have two years before that to actually be accepted into the teacher program but being a part of the Associate’s Degree, the dual enrollment, it gave me the opportunity that I can just go into college basically as a junior,” Blackwell said.

“It makes a huge difference, I’m actually taking a couple classes through Scott (Community College) and they’re expensive so having the two years already for free is seriously so amazing,” Blackwell added.

Blackwell mentioned the process was tough to get her degree but found the hard work worth it.

“You get two years of college for free. I know that when people probably think about it they’re like ‘I can’t do that, that’s crazy, going to high school and college at the same time’ but you can do anything you can put your mind to,” Blackwell said.

The Associate’s program is only offered through North and not Central or West. Chelf said the process begins in a student’s freshmen year.

“We start the Freshman by taking two classes in the second semester of their freshman year, then as a Sophomore they take one of the classes each term so they get four of them completed then and then their Junior and Senior year they take seven college classes while taking their high school courses,” Chelf said, “I have not heard of anybody who runs a program where students are completing the Associate’s Degree while they’re still in high school.”

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