Ten Knox County high school students earn associate degrees before high school diplomas


(Photo via CMA) From left are Arwen Roach, Kynlea Waldrop, Sophie Trent, Eli Elgin, Forrest Hamilton, Dylan West, Nathan Parker and Rondhea Martin. Not pictured are Josie Maynard and Jessamine Reckard.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Ten Knox County high school students are graduating from Pellissippi State Community College with their associate degrees in addition to their high school diplomas.

This is the fourth and the largest class of dual enrollment students to earn their associate degrees at Pellissippi State while completing high school at Career Magnet Academy.

Sophie Trent earned an Associate of Arts degree and plans to transfer to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to study biology.

(Photo via
Pellissippi State Community College)

I knew CMA was a good fit for me because I knew (Advanced Placement) classes would stress me out, and I wanted something more tangible as an end result. Also, I knew I wanted to be a doctor, and this is a really big head start on that.”

Sophie Trent

A majority of CMA students graduate with between 24 and 45 college credit hours.

Eight of the 10 CMA seniors will walk during the commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday, May 14, on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley campus while the other two will walk at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 15. CMA will hold its graduation on June 5.

Many students describe their classmates as a “tight-knit family.”

“Here everybody fits in,” said Kynlea Waldrop who has earned her Associate of Arts degree and plans to double major in marketing and recording industry, music business at MTSU. “You can come from anywhere and make friends.”

Traditional public school is very rigid and structured. […] When we started our Pellissippi State classes, there was a period of transition from having teachers stay on you about assignments to being self-reliant.”

Dylan West earned an Associate of Science degree and plans to major in petroleum engineering at Colorado School of Mines.

CMA can accept 125 freshmen each year from within Knox County, and there are still 60 slots open for Fall 2021. Those interested in attending can apply now at transapp.knoxschools.org until July 2.

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