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Marquette Senior Earns Diploma, College Degree Simultaneously

Ever since she can remember, Lillian Hayward has had aspirations of working as a museum educator.

Although it’s not a common career path, Hayward’s participation as a teenager in two museum education programs helped solidify her plans.

This spring, Hayward will be one step closer to making her dreams a reality. Through participation in St. Louis Community College’s Early College Partnership with the Rockwood School District, Hayward will graduate with both her high school diploma and associate degree from STLCC. After graduation, she intends to transfer to a four-year university to complete a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and secondary English education.

“I’m 100 percent glad I did the Early College program at STLCC,” Hayward said. “As a high school student, I was looking for a way to graduate early so I could fast-track my career, and this program was the perfect fit.”

Although Hayward admits she was a little nervous to take college classes as a high school student, the experience at STLCC-Wildwood has been nothing but positive.

“I’ve really enjoyed studying in an environment that embraces all age groups,” she said. “In my art class, in particular, it’s been great to have the adult students share their insights with me.”

Outside of the classroom, she’s found several ways to showcase her talents. From reading her poetry at Open Mic Nights to participating in Art Club and having her work published in the Sycamore, STLCC-Wildwood’s annual literary magazine, Hayward has been an involved student on campus.

When she’s not at Wildwood, she returns to Marquette, her home high school, to continue her studies of the German language. She also works at a local bookstore and spends time hiking, reading and hanging out with friends.

“I like trying new things, and my experience at STLCC has really allowed me to do that,” she said. “I feel like I’m ahead of the game and ready to take on the next challenge.”

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