36 High School Students Earn Their DMACC Associates Degree Before Their High School Diploma

Posted 6/1/2020

​​Achievement requires a tremendous amount of planning, time commitment and dedication

  • Many students take college classes while attending high school, but this year, 36 high school students earned a degree from DMACC before receiving their high school diploma.

  • The DMACC Career Advantage Program serves almost 17,000 high school students annually within the DMACC District.

  • Joseph Correa of Clive is following in his sister Anna's shoes by graduating from DMACC before graduating from West Des Moines Valley High School.

  • All high school students graduating from DMACC during the same year as high school receive a special cord to wear during their high school commencement ceremony.  

A total of 36 Iowa high school students have accomplished what was unheard of years ago. They earned a DMACC degree before receiving their high school diploma. Students receiving an Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) degree have earned at least 64 college credits over their high school career. 

“This takes a tremendous amount of planning, time commitment and dedication," said Michael Lentsch, Director of DMACC's Career Advantage Enrollment Services. “All of these students work with their Career Advantage Advisor who is dedicated to their high school to assist them with college planning." 

Lentsch said DMACC's Career Advantage Program serves almost 17,000 high school students annually in the Central and West Central Iowa district that DMACC serves. He said students have the option of taking classes in their home high school, online or may attend one of DMACC's seven Career Academies. 

“DMACC is proud of the commitment and perseverance these amazing students have shown by completing a degree while in high school. This is a testament to the great partnerships that exist between DMACC and all of our local high schools," Lentsch said. 

He said these graduates will have a great advantage moving forward into the next phase of their education. 

“Some will complete a two-year degree in one-year; some will complete a four-year degree in two-years," Lentsch said. “This will save them time in school and tuition costs. Students will also have the flexibility in their schedules for such things as double major or minors, study abroad opportunities and internships."   

West Des Moines Valley High School graduating senior Joseph Correa of Clive (pictured left) is one of those students who received his DMACC degree before his high school diploma. 

Correa said he started taking DMACC classes during this sophomore year at Valley. He said the majority of the classes were held at Valley High School, although he did take a class at the DMACC Southridge Center and an online class.

Correa earned an Associate of Arts degree and an Associate of Science degree. Amazingly, he was not the first member of his family to earn a DMACC degree before a high school diploma. His sister, Anna, did the same thing a couple of years ago. 

“Everything fell in to place so well that I was able to get two college degrees while taking classes I would have taken anyway in high school," said Correa, who also participated in concert band, jazz band, National Honor Society and a host of other extracurricular activities.

He said he plans to attend the University of Northern Iowa in the fall and study Biology and Biochemistry. 

Another student earning her DMACC degree before her diploma from Lincoln High School is Kalani Mangin of Des Moines (pictured right). She actually started taking DMACC classes during her freshman year, averaging two or three classes per semester. She said she took most of her classes at Central Academy, which offers advanced courses for high school students in the Des Moines Public School system. 

She said all of the advanced classes meant a lot of homework.

“Most of my time was spent doing homework rather than hanging out with friends," Mangin said.  “And there were quite a few more all-nighters than I would have liked."

Her hard work and sacrifices paid off. She earned an Associates of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from DMACC. She said she will attend Dakota State University in the fall double majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics with a minor in Cyber Operations.  

Mangin said she will be graduating fourth in her class at Abraham Lincoln High School in Des Moines and was involved in varsity swimming all four years of high school, as well as other activities. 

“All of these students will be awarded a special cord to wear in their high school commencement ceremony to note the special distinction," Lentsch said. 

He added that DMACC had 166 high school students who earned some type of DMACC Degree, Certificate or Diploma in programs such as Nurse Aid, Welding or Emergency Medical Technician. He said there were 47 high schools in the DMACC district with students earning credentials.  

Here are the high schools and names of the 36 students who received their DMACC Associates degree before their high school diploma:

  • Abraham Lincoln High School (Des Moines): Kalani Mangin

  • Ankeny Centennial High School: Christopher Martin

  • Ballard-Huxley High School: Joshua Clinton

  • Boone High School: Stephanie Wilson

  • Carlisle High School: Jacob Foster, Ann Lent

  • North High School (Des Moines): Kalen Truong

  • Norwalk Community High School: Lucas Taylor

  • Pella Community High School: Johnathon Carlo

  • Urbandale High School: Krystal Dao, Reese Dial, Ashleigh Kistenmacher, Elisha Luke, Jessica Stoelk, Lukas Zerajic

  • Valley High School (West Des Moines): Brindy Arredondo, Rachel Bartholomew, Makenzie Campbell, Mariel Castillo, Gwyneth Chilcoat, Isabella Cook, Joseph Correa, Nicole Embree, Aleah Holladay, Naga Kappaganthu, Karen Kawala, Logan Kha, Blake Morrow, Sahithi Shankaiahgari, Isabel Thomas, Mary Thomas, Kathryn Wittrock

  • Winterset High School: Addison Akers, Mikaela Hunter, Brooklyn McVay, Sydnee Nicholl


For more information, contact Michael Lentsch at (515) 965-7086​​ or mjlentsch@dmacc.edu.

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