Like many 19-year-olds, Jazmin Miranda is a college student. Unlike most her age though, she is already a senior.
“I graduated both from South Texas College and from high school (at the same time).”
This was made possible through McAllen ISD’s Achieve Early College High School. Since opening in 2008, Achieve has focused high school students on picking up college credit and even using college resources through a partnership with South Texas College.
In fact, Jazmin actually earned her Associate Degree before she received her high school diploma since the STC graduation ceremonies occur earlier.
Students in McAllen ISD have multiple avenues to pick up college credit. In fact, the class of 2014 collectively earned 15,800 college credit hours, professional licenses, certifications and Associate Degrees.
Jazmin herself graduated with 73 college credit hours – more than enough for her Associate’s Degree in biology. Now studying at the University of Texas-Pan American, Jazmin is the first in her family to attend college.
“I just knew I always wanted to do something in the medical field, either to be a physician or something,” she said. “To help people was my inspiration. My mom would tell me to always help others.”
She is determined to become one of the first to enroll in the region’s new medical school and she recognizes that her success is tied to Dual Enrollment courses she took at Achieve ECHS -- the only Exemplary Early College High School in South Texas. In fact, her A+ Moment occurred late in eighth grade when she learned she had been accepted to Achieve in 2009.
“I knew since the beginning, I wanted to go to college and I always thought I was going to take four years to get a bachelor’s degree,” she said. “But when this school opened up and offered free college (opportunities), which I greatly appreciate now that I’m at the university, it really helped me make my dream come true. It helped me get there faster. I’ve learned so much and grown as a human being as well.”
McAllen ISD’s program also took care of her books and tuition.
“To get two free years at McAllen ISD paid for and everything, it’s a really good opportunity for young kids.”
Now, she is on the cusp of graduating college and moving into a career in medicine. She plans to earn a degree in biology with a focus on the pre-medical field. After applying to the new UTRGV medical school, she wants to apply for their Physician Assistant program.