Metro-East News

This student is about to graduate college. Then she’ll graduate high school.

Anne Synders will graduate from high school and Lewis and Clark Community College just four days apart.
Anne Synders will graduate from high school and Lewis and Clark Community College just four days apart.

One Jersey Community High School student will graduate from college just days before she walks across the stage as a high school graduate.

Anne Snyders took enough dual credit courses at Lewis and Clark Community College that she’ll able to complete her associate of science degree this summer. All she has to finish up is four more classes.

The summer after her sophomore year of high school, she registered as a concurrent enrollment student at L&C in addition to taking dual credit courses. During her senior year, she took both high school and college courses, attending classes both on campus and online.

“It was extremely difficult managing the two different schools,” Snyders said in a news release from Lewis and Clark. “In addition, I participated in two high school sports, qualified for state in both tennis and track, and had an externship at an elementary school in my school district. This year has been extremely busy. I felt as if I was balancing two lives. I will finish my Associate of Science degree this summer after taking four more classes.”

Snyders won’t finish her degree until she takes four more courses, but because Lewis and Clark celebrates graduates from the entire academic year at the Spring commencement, Snyders will technically graduate May 17. Four days later, she’ll walk across the stage as a high school graduate.

In the fall, Snyders plans to transfer to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and double major in accounting and finance.

Snyders’ older sister took a similar path during high school, finishing college just one semester after she graduated from high school. Through her, Snyders learned it was possible to work on her degree throughout high school — it would just take a lot of dedication.

“I think current students who aspire to graduate from college and high school at the same time need to realize that it is completely possible,” she said. “Even though this aspiration might be difficult, successful challenges are the most rewarding accomplishments.”

Since the dual credit program at L&C began in 1999, it’s saved Jersey Community district residents like Snyders nearly $38 million, according to the release. Through L&C’s High School Partnership program, students have been able to take almost 400,000 credit hours for free while still in high school.

L&C Vice President of Enrollment Kent Scheffel called Snyders’ early graduation an “excellent accomplishment.”

“Students quite often earn one or two semesters’ worth of college credit through dual credit prior to graduating from high school, and Anne has taken that opportunity to the next level,” Scheffel said.