After lots of hard work and discipline, Warrensville Heights High School student Cameron Ray on Dec. 17 became the youngest Warrensville student ever to graduate from Cuyahoga Community College.
Cameron walked across the stage with his associate’s degree of arts in hand -- well before he is set to graduate high school in 2021.
“Everyone is usually pretty surprised when I tell them I’m only a junior in high school,” said Cameron, who will go on to study film directing at Cleveland State University next semester.
Cameron began preparing for his early start at Tri-C in middle school through the Ohio College Credit Plus program.
College Credit Plus (CCP) is Ohio’s dual enrollment program that provides students in grades 7-12 the opportunity to earn college and high school credits concurrently by taking courses at Ohio colleges or universities. Started in 2015, College Credit Plus attracts thousands of high school students to Tri-C every year to begin their higher education journey. Cameron was among seven who graduated this semester.
“I’ve learned that sometimes it’s the best things in life you’ll be fearful of,” Cameron said when asked if he was nervous taking classes alongside adults on a college campus. “But, you’ve got to push yourself and get acquainted.”
Warrensville’s dual-credit program and partnership with Tri-C gives students like Cameron a head start to college and career at no cost to parents and families. Ohio College Credit reported that it saved Ohio families more than $148 million in tuition in 2017-18.
Cameron said he’s learned many soft skills by participating in CCP, including time management, juggling a social life and tutoring. But “freedom was the best part,” said Cameron. “You can’t operate within regular constraints.”
Cameron said the only person he knows of who graduated college at his age was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and “that is something I’m especially proud of.”