Cheyenne Wheelis never thought she would graduate high school in only three years.
The Farmington High School junior will walk to the stage on May 18 as a member of the class of 2014 – one year ahead of schedule.
It’s not something she set out to do her freshman year of school.
Wheelis wanted to get a head-start on her college education by taking as many classes as possible using the district’s dual credit/College Now program.
“My schedule this year is completely college classes,” Wheelis said.
Applying herself to studies is not something new to Wheelis.
She was enrolled in the district’s “PAGES” gifted program from third through eighth grades.
“I’ve always sought a challenge,” she said.
She had her first taste of college classes during the Upward Bound program at Mineral Area College last summer, taking six credit hours.
When setting up her schedule for her junior year, Wheelis realized taking a couple of night classes during each semester would set her on course to graduate at the end of the upcoming school year.
The first semester Wheelis enrolled in 22 credit hours. This semester, she is enrolled in 27 credit hours.
Most of those classes were taken on the Farmington High School classes during the regular school day or at night when the school serves as an extension campus for Mineral Area College.
She plans to attend the University of Missouri-Columbia in the fall of this year, majoring in anesthesiology.
Wheelis got a head start toward that career by taking a number of math and science courses.
Her hard work will transfer over with a 42-hour general education block – made possible for Wheelis through the district’s “College Now” program.
In this program, students can take dual credit courses for college credit.
The program also offers a scholarship where the student is only responsible for one-third of the tuition.
Mineral Area College and the high school pay the other two-thirds.
“That helps a lot,” Wheelis said.
She advises students to take the ACT early and as often as possible to achieve at least a 24 – the score needed to be eligible for the scholarship.
Wheelis also holds a job at the movie theater and is involved in a number of activities at the school.
“You have to be able to have a social life and not just study all the time or else you’re going to get way too stressed,” she said.
Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor for the Farmington Press. She can be reached at 573-756-8927 or email@example.com.