Fort Stockton resident earns college degree one week before high school diploma

It’s not every day that a talented student manages to graduate from college before she graduates from high school, but in 18-year-old Rylea Jackson’s case, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Today—May 12—Jackson will receive an Associate of Arts Degree from Midland College when she “walks the stage” at AI G. Langford Chaparral Center in Midland, according to the college. Next week, on May 18, she will also graduate from Fort Stockton High School—yep, AFTER her college graduation.

Jackson was only in 10th grade when she first enrolled in a dual credit class through Midland College’s Fort Stockton campus, per the college. She then continued to pursue dual credit classes throughout her school years.

“At the end of my junior year in high school, I had enough credits to receive an Administrative Clerk certificate from Midland College, and now I have completed all requirements for an Associate of Arts Degree,” Jackson shared with the college.

Jackson said she plans to attend Sul Ross University in the fall—and due to the dual credit courses she completed—will be classified as a sophomore. She hopes to get a part-time job while there, using her skills in office administration.

“I’ll be able to graduate from Sul Ross in three years and start medical school a year earlier than my peers,” Jackson told Midland College. Her ultimate goal is to become a dermatologist.

A lifelong Fort Stockton resident, Jackson is the city’s first student to obtain an Associate Degree while still in high school. During high school, she was a member of the National Honor Society, competed in UIL spelling and writing contests and also volunteered. She graduates while in the top 10 percent of her high school class.

“I definitely recommend taking dual credit classes,” Jackson told Midland College. “Being able to graduate from college at the same time that I graduate from high school is a nice perk, but having an employable skill so that I can earn money while I’m in college and obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in just three years is truly amazing!”