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17-year-old completes high school diploma, 3 college degrees

A Valley teen who started taking college courses in sixth grade has finished high school with three college degrees.

PHOENIX — Graduation season is upon us, and 12News is shining the spotlight on an outstanding West Valley student who’s celebrating a list of big achievements at one graduation. 

Not only is he graduating from high school, but he’s also completing three college degrees at the same time. 

“I’m going to be graduating with an associate's in artificial intelligence, computer science and mathematics,” said Tristan Andrade, who’s doing big things at just 17 years old. 

He first started taking college classes when he was in sixth grade, and by the time he was in eighth, he dual enrolled through Estrella Mountain Community College

“Dual enrolled… homeschooled, which allows me to pursue both my high school diploma and my college degrees at the same time,” he said.  

 Tristan’s success early on only left him wanting to do even more.  

“I just wanted to get a head start,” he said.  

His dad, Maynard Andrade, said it wasn’t always easy, but Tristan pushed through and made it happen.

"I’m just absolutely amazed that he was able to do all this in the time that most people haven’t even graduated high school,” his dad said. “They’re just thinking about what colleges to go to or studying for SAT.” 

Now all the hard work has paid off. 

“It definitely comes as a surprise to some people,” Andrade said. “It is possible. Anybody can do it.” 

He credits his family and the staff here for providing such great resources and guidance.

“Everybody here was very respectful and supportive,” he said.  

 The Estrella Mountain Community College team can help anyone at any age get started on pursuing their goals. 

“You do not need a high school diploma in order to take classes here,” said Alissa Manzoeillo, the college's public relations and marketing director. 

She said the dual enrollment program is a helpful way to save time, money, while getting ahead.

“The more that people learn about it, the more excited they are to take this on and to try it,” she said.

For Tristan, this is just the beginning. He plans to attend ASU to pursue a career as an AI engineer. 

To make his graduation even more special, Tristan was honored to sing the national anthem at last year‘s graduation, and he will once again this year.  

But this time, it will mean even more, singing at his own graduation. 

“To me, it really marks the beginning of a new chapter of my life,” he said.

To learn more about the dual enrollment program, click here.


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