It’s not every day that you hear a student has earned an associate degree before completing a high school diploma, but that’s exactly what Devin Thomas will be able to say he’s accomplished in December of 2018.

A student at Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy, Devin started taking college classes through the City Colleges of Chicago’s Early College program in the spring of 2017 because he felt it would save his family money and put him ahead of the game when it came to getting his college degree. Because of the number of college credits he’s taken, Devin will earn his Associate Degree in Computer Science from Daley College in December of 2018, and will graduate from Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy in June of 2019.

Devin is eager to dispel any negative assumptions students have about community colleges, noting that his experience at Daley challenged his own ideas about attending one.

“I saved money and got the college experience,” says Devin, who was part of five different honor societies between the two schools.

In addition to all the long hours and hard work, Devin also gives credit to the support of his parents, who never let him give up on anything.

“My parents always told me that they would always back me up 100 percent, and I am beyond grateful.”

Devin, whose advice to other students is “you have the potential to do anything you put your mind to,” is now focused on his next step: transferring to Northern Illinois University this fall with a full scholarship to study business administration. His long-term goal is to become a corporate attorney.

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