2 CPS students first to earn high school diploma, college degree early

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Devin Thomas and Cheyenne Henry are in the home stretch of their time at Sarah E. Goode Stem Academy.

"Right now this is finals week. So I finished taking four out of five of my finals. I have one tomorrow," Henry said.

The CPS students are not only finishing high school a semester early, they're also earning their associate's degrees in computer science from Daley College this month.

"I know both of our parents are just proud. They are happy, just excited as we are. I think we are a little more excited," she said.

Thomas and Henry are the first students to complete the CPS dual credit/dual enrollment program early. The program offers students the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school.

CPS students begin participating in the program their sophomore year. Students have to meet certain GPA and attendance requirements and take an early college placement exam in order to be accepted into the program.

Michelle Little heads the program at Goode Academy, a school located in the Ashburn neighborhood on the city's Southwest Side.

"All classes are paid for, taxes and fees, they have transportation that goes back and forth every single day. We ran the numbers. It approximately saves each student about $12,000," Little said.

When Henry and Thomas first requested to accelerate the program, Little initially said no.

"I didn't want them to feel rush. I didn't want them to take on too many courses and mess up their high school experience," she said.

Like other high school seniors, Henry and Thomas are looking forward to life after graduation.

"I would love to go to Harvard. That's my top choice. It's always been my top choice for a very long time, mostly because of their law school," Henry said.

Thomas plans to also pursue a career in law.

"I want to finish a bachelor's in computer science. I want to get a bachelor's in business management and my end goal is to go to law school to be a corporate attorney," he said.

No matter where they go in life, they promise to continue to support each other along the way.

"We became really close friends and everything, help each other, stay on top of each other, make sure everything is done," Thomas said.
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