A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Two Newport High School students become school’s first to complete KDE Early Graduation program

For the first time in school history, two Newport High School students will graduate prior to their senior year under the State of Kentucky’s Early Graduation program.

Brianna Stubbeman is graduating after just two years in high school while Jadyn Cruz is graduating after three years. Both will graduate Saturday with their Newport classmates.

“I am glad I am one of the first to do the early graduation program because the process will be easier to do for others,” Brianna said. “The first time around is always confusing and imperfect. Others who want to pursue this program will have a better time working through the program because the first people in the program are the guinea pigs who help work out the kinks in the process. ”

“It gratifies me to know that I’m one of the first students at Newport High School to participate in Early Graduation,” Jadyn said. “It was an interesting year, full of independence, and I could not be more satisfied. I am so thankful!”

The Early Graduation program was enacted by the Kentucky General Assembly and been available to students since the 2014-15 school year. The program makes it possible for students to progress through high school on an accelerated timeline and graduate college ready in three years or less.

“We are immensely proud of these pioneering students who are the first in Newport history to graduate through the Early Graduation program,” said Newport Independent Schools Superintendent Tony Watts. “Brianna and Jadyn have set an incredible example of how much our students can achieve academically.”

Brianna will attend the University of Cincinnati to finish her general education courses and begin the initial courses in her major, aerospace engineering. She is participating in a work-study program to cover the costs of books and other necessities and plans to transfer to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) when she turns 18.

“I chose to do the early graduation pathway because I am ready for the next chapter in my life,” Brianna said. “The hardest challenge I faced was balancing the new workload and my stress. I had three years of high school, a research program, a quantum computing course, and college courses to do during the year. My stress levels were high, and my determination was tested.”

Jadyn said she pursued the Early Graduation Pathway to start her path to adulthood. She said she had little difficulty meeting the learning benchmarks and requirements for the program.

“A lot of thinking went into the decision, and I ultimately believed it was the best thing to do,” Jadyn said. “After graduation, I plan to work and enjoy my summer, and start college in the fall. Within the next 10 years, I want to further my education and get all the training I need for my future career in the medical field.”

Both students have advice for students who are interested in Early Graduation.

“My advice for students who want to complete this program is seeking support from trusted friends and family,” Brianna said. “A good support system is important to maintain good mental health and keeping motivation for your goals. This program can be stressful and overwhelming which can affect mental health. Support is crucial to achieve your goals.”

Jadyn advises students to take the time necessary to ensure that the program is right for them.

“It’s exciting but it requires a lot of focus and stability,” she said.

Newport Independent Schools

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One Comment

  1. A great story and I am proud of the students and Newport High School and their teachers and Administrators and their Parents.
    Dr. John Stephenson Former Superintendent of Education for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

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