Butler Early College Academy Graduates Students
58 Early College Academy Students receive their Associate’s Degree at the same time as their High School Diploma.
Butler Community College handed its 2017 Early College Academies graduates an associate’s degree or certificate during an Academy graduation ceremony held May 7. Butler’s Early College Academies offer local high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to pursue their associate’s degree while still in high school.
The students graduated from the Health Sciences, IT, Engineering and Public Safety Services academies. In total, they received more than $1million in scholarships from the colleges they plan to attend.
“I’m so proud of these students and their accomplishments,” said Lori Winningham, Vice President of Academics at Butler. “It is amazing what they have done.”
Mel Whiteside, Butler’s Dean of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), told the students to continue to push themselves.
“Do not give up. Be a lifelong learner,” Whiteside said. “Enjoy life and have a passion for whatever you do.”
Sydnee Johnston, a senior at Derby High School and a Health Sciences Academy graduate has always had a passion for animals. Someday she hopes to be a veterinarian. Meanwhile, she will play volleyball for Bethel College while working toward veterinary school.
This year’s valedictorian at Bluestem High School, Kaylyn Baker, wants to either work in the neonatal unit at a hospital or with the disabled. She will take her associate’s degree from Butler and pursue a bachelor’s in nursing next fall.
Another student, Michaela Gerhard of Derby High School, who maintained a 4.0 GPA at Butler, will continue to run track at Friends University.
“At first I was a little scared, but now it’s the best decision I ever made,” said Michaela. “This academy has opened so many doors for me. It’s changed my life.”
Mercedez Kalp of Douglass High School and Blaine Nelson of Derby High School were recognized for their positive attitude, spirit and leadership abilities. Mercedez, who completed her associate’s degree in the IT Academy, plans to major in elementary education at Emporia. Blaine, who attended the Health Sciences Academy, is heading up to KU School of Nursing. In addition to completing his associate’s degree, Blaine played on the Derby football, track and wrestling teams. Although he had to give up band, he said the academy was “the best."
Some students completed their degree but decided to switch majors. Gideon Wiley received his associate’s degree in health science. But after visiting nursing homes, he decided he wanted to change course and become a lawyer, pursuing cases in malpractice. Wiley, who was homeschooled, will attend Butler next year.
Three Academy students are headed for the military, while the rest will stay closer to home, pursuing degrees from as close by as Butler’s on campus nursing program with KU School of Nursing and as far away as Drury University in Missouri and Oklahoma State University.
“I love the fact that you get an associate’s degree right out of high school,” said homeschooler Jarod Peacock. “I love this program.”
Peacock plans to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant after graduating from Newman University.
2017 graduates from Butler’s Early College Academies include:
High Schools -
Emily Bell—Health Sciences
Skylar Craft—Health Sciences
Grant Geddeis—Health Sciences
Alexa Lesperance—Health Sciences
Camryn Messmore—Health Sciences
Jordan Pearce—Health Sciences
Ethan Plummer—Public Safety (Certificate)
Kayla Stone – Health Sciences
Sara Weber—Public Safety
Abigail Wenninger – Health Sciences
Erin Flahive—Health Sciences
Alexis Gladfelter—Information Technology (Certificate)
Taryn Gray—Health Sciences
Anna Grendahl—Health Sciences
Alexander Kozarik—Public Safety (Certificate)
David Haag—Information Technology (Certificate)
Zachary Moran - Information Technology (Certificate)
Joshua Scholl—Information Technology (Certificate)
Cameron Mckee—Information Technology
Kaylyn Baker—Health Sciences
Cutter Berk – Information Technology (Certificate)
Kaitlyn Greenwood—Health Science
Hunter Hayes—Information Technology
Rachel Boles—Information Technology (Certificate)
Kyla Beasley—Health Sciences
Carly Bretherton—Health Sciences
Taylor Bynum—Health Sciences
Jacob Clark—Information Technology
Michaela Gerhard—Health Sciences
Tessa Greiving—Health Sciences
Adrianna Guerra—Health Sciences
Sydnee Johnston—Health Sciences
Mykaela Keehn—Health Sciences
Dezarae Little—Health Sciences
Zane Liu—Health Sciences
Alyssa Mapes—Health Sciences
Ana Martinez—Health Sciences
Ryan Monaghan—Health Sciences (Certificate)
Blaine Nelson—Health Sciences
Sabreena Panyara—Health Sciences
Eric Taylor—Information Technology (Certificate)
Kailey Hamilton—Health Sciences
Mercedez Kalp—Information Technology
Laekin Starr—Information Technology
Clayton Bagley—Engineering (Certificate)
Kylea McArdle—Health Sciences
Jarod Peacock—Health Sciences
Gideon Wiley—Health Sciences
Alyssa Mertz—Health Sciences
Chase Penka—Health Sciences
Ashley Prince—Health Sciences
Olivia Scott—Information Technology
Sammy Strecker—Health Sciences
Maggie Sweeney—Health Sciences
Katelyn Ward—Health Sciences
Coleton Crisp—Public Safety (Certificate)
Brooke Alderson—Health Sciences
Madysen Baker—Information Technology
Sydney Barnard—Health Sciences
Maci Carlson—Health Sciences
Kelby Dinkel—Information Technology
Joshua Farrar—Health Sciences
Julianna Pfeiffer—Health Sciences
Aiden Raevsky—Information Technology
Rachel Salazar—Health Sciences
Jessica Strawn—Health Sciences
Briley Stuchlik—Information Technology
Kathy Tran—Health Sciences
Nicholas May—Information Technology
Gavin McDonald – Information Technology (Certificate)
Thaddeus Swift – Information Technology (Certificate)
Early College Academies include Business & Entrepreneurship, Health Sciences, Criminal Justice & Legal Studies, Fire Science, Engineering Technology, Education, Cyber Security, 3D Technology (Animation, Digital Media and Video Production). In 2017, 93% of Butler Academy students completed their associate’s degree just prior to high school graduation. All students in the 2016-2017 graduating class are either transferring to college or joining the military.