2 degrees of excellence
Special to the TIMES NEWS Jordan Ruzicka, a senior at Palmerton Area High School, will graduate with the rest of the PAHS Class of 2011 during commencement exercises this Wednesday. Last month, she received her associate degree in applied science and math with honors while still in high school.
Talk about getting a leg up on the competition.
Come Wednesday at 7 p.m., senior Jordan Ruzicka will graduate with the Palmerton Area High School Class of 2011.
But, unlike her fellow classmates, this will mark the second time in less than a month that Ruzicka dons the cap and gown.
Just several weeks earlier, Ruzicka lined up for commencement exercises as part of the Lehigh Carbon Community College Class of 2011.
Incredibly, Ruzicka was able to earn her college degree while still in high school, a feat so rare, that it's believed to be the first in the history of the district.
That Ruzicka was able to earn an associate degree in applied science and mathematics while still in high school is only half the story.
Despite her full workload of courses at PAHS, Ruzicka graduated from LCCC on the dean's list with honors.
Debby Ruzicka, Jordan's mother, said she couldn't be more proud of her daughter.
"Don Snyder (president of LCCC) made a special announcement at the LCCC graduation ceremony congratulating Jordan," Debby Ruzicka said. "I think she was the proudest little girl in the stadium."
Debby said that Jordan was able to accomplish the feat through the dual enrollment program offered by LCCC.
Through the process known as block scheduling, Jordan was able to double up on her courses.
However, that isn't to say there weren't some bumps along the way.
"She had her ups and downs with the program," Debby Ruzicka said. "There were times when she was really stressed out."
Debby credited Audrey Larvey, a recently retired instructor at Palmerton Area High School, for being a "very big influence" on Jordan.
Throughout her tenure at PAHS, Jordan was involved in National Honor Society, Girl Scouts, Future Business Leaders of America, Mock Trial, Guiding Stars, Art Club, and the Gifted Program.
Jordan, who will graduate PAHS third in her class, plans to attend Roger Williams University for a master's degree in architecture.
She is the daughter of Robert and Debby Ruzicka.