BIG HORN — This spring, two local high school students will graduate with high school diplomas and associate degrees from Sheridan College.
Big Horn High School seniors Lydia Mayer and Bryce Michaud participated in the Sheridan College commencement ceremony over the weekend and will earn high school diplomas from Big Horn High School May 28.
“This is believed to be the first time that a high school student has ever graduated from Sheridan College,” said Cody Ball, director of dual credit programs for Sheridan College.
While both Mayer and Michaud downplay the academic challenge of graduating with high school and college degrees at the same time, it’s clear both students worked hard to get where they are today.
“My classload was a lot more than what it would have been had I just been going to high school classes, but it is achievable and it will definitely pay off,” Michaud said.
On average, Michaud took about 15 credit hours of college classes each semester, concurrent with or in addition to his classes at Big Horn High School.
Mayer, who is also the BHHS salutatorian, will graduate with a 4.0 GPA from both BHHS and SC.
Ball said Michaud and Mayer went about their accomplishments in different ways.
“Both students took the same concurrent enrollment class for college credit as sophomores, and took off from there, but in different directions,” Ball said. “Lydia was very goal-oriented in the process. She knew from the beginning of her junior year that her goal was to earn an associate degree before she graduated from high school.”
Mayer took 27 credits her junior year, and even met with SC faculty members to discuss a degree plan.
“She has taken some very demanding courses, mainly from our education department,” Ball said.
Michaud had an interest in math and computer science, and began taking courses in those fields the summer prior to his junior year.
“Bryce took 30 college credits during his junior year, and in the fall semester of his senior year, he registered for 20 more credits through dual and concurrent enrollment,” Ball said.
It was in a casual conversation that Michaud realized he may be able to earn a college degree at the same time as his high school diploma.
“I ran into Bryce at a college admissions fair and made a casual remark that at the rate he was going he might graduate from Sheridan College this year,” Ball said. “Later that day I realized that my joke was actually a very real possibility.”
And Michaud took the idea to heart.
“I didn’t want to make education too easy on myself,” Michaud said. “I wanted to challenge myself, and it ended up that I had enough credits to graduate from Sheridan College too.”
Mayer was born in Indiana and moved to Wyoming at the age of 5. She has attended Sheridan County School District 1 schools her entire academic life. She loves English, and hopes to double major in English and education, eventually earning her doctorate.
She anticipates finishing her first year at the University of Wyoming with enough credits to qualify as a junior.
Michaud was born and raised in Laramie, and transferred to SCSD1 when he was 8 years old. He plans to study computer science, with additional studies in math and economics. He also has an interest in business — one he says comes from his parents — and will head to the University of Wyoming in the fall.
“A similarity that the pair does share is their educational dedication and achievement,” Ball said. “Both students so far have completed all of their courses with straight As. Assuming this semester follows suit, both will graduate with 4.0 GPAs.”
Ball, Michaud and Mayer all noted that the teachers, staff and administration at Big Horn High School and SCSD1 were wonderful. Mayer and Michaud had similar praise for Ball, and for their respective parents.
“It truly was a strong partnership between the college and the district to give the students this opportunity, and great dedication and work for the students to take advantage of the opportunity,” Ball said.