Four high achieving Copperas Cove High School seniors who graduated a semester ahead of schedule are getting a financial boost with up to a year in scholarship dollars from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Elizabeth Simpson, Grayson Avritt, Brayden Masingale, and Bradley Hillman are eligible to receive the Texas First Diploma and can use this scholarship at state schools including Texas A&M, Texas State, Texas Tech, University of Texas, University of Houston, and University of North Texas.
“This prestigious opportunity enables students to graduate early with the Distinguished Level of Achievement and receive scholarships for college,” Copperas Cove High School Counseling Coordinator Melissa Dewald said.
Copperas Cove High School graduate Elizabeth Simpson will attend Texas A&M University with a major in psychology. She plans a career in marriage and family therapy.
“The transition to a new city and a new school is stressful in many ways including financially,” Simpson said. “With this scholarship, I am given the chance to focus on my education without the stress of money issues.”
Simpson says her junior year in high school was the most challenging when she enrolled in college courses in addition to taking an advanced placement class.
“There were many days I wanted to drop a class to make the year easier for myself. My mom helped me through handling my stress and getting everything done,” Simpson said. “Graduating early was a spontaneous decision I made the first week of senior year. Fortunately from all the hard work I previously put in, I only needed a few credits to complete my personal graduation plan. It gave me the chance to work and earn a few extra dollars before going to college in the fall.”
Copperas Cove High School graduate Grayson Avritt is also attending Texas A&M University and will pursue a degree in neuroscience. He plans to become a neuropsychologist.
“Financially and emotionally, the scholarship will make things much less stressful and allow me to spend more time building a better future,” Avritt said. “Graduating early was not a decision that I had initially considered. It wasn’t until the end of my junior year that I had even heard of that being a potential path for me. Since I had pretty much exclusively taken classes that counted towards my necessary credits, I only needed one more credit to graduate by the end of my junior year.”
Both students state that they would have found a way to pay for the expense of college because they are determined to attend. However, the Texas First Diploma program has eased some of the financial burden of higher education.
“I was planning on attending college no matter the financial outcome of high school,” Simpson said. “If I needed to work, take out a loan, or earn scholarships, I was determined to try. I am extremely grateful to feel the support for working hard and persevering through difficult classes and challenges.”
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