Crystal Bush(on the left)  and Lauren Grabowska

Graduating from College BEFORE graduating from High School!

Crystal is off to ASU Tempe to study Physics before heading into the Navy Nucluear  Officer Program!

Lauren is headed to Texas A & M to work on a dual major - Veterinarian Medicine and a Nursing Degree!

A Note from Lauren.....

Starting with the fall semester, 2015, at Rio Salado, I  finished all seven classes (23 credit hours) that started at the beginning of the semester; two within the last month. I will also be finishing another two classes, Accounting 111 and Calculus I with Analytical Geometry, within the next week. Out of all, I would say that the abnormal psychology (PSY 266) and the Intro to Creative Writing (CRW 150) were the most enjoyable. Psychology has always been one of my favorite subjects and have only since gained formal instruction. In any case, the class opened my eyes to many different mental illnesses and common causes, symptoms, and treatments. While psychology is arguable not a “true” science, it is interesting nonetheless. I just completed the creative writing course and it was a nice change compared to my other classes. This class allowed me to think creatively, instead of just focusing on facts and memorizing things. Each lesson would have a general topic (like autobiographical, first-person, 500-word scene) and covered a wide range of writing styles (though it was generally so much fun, learning was almost unnoticeable).

The fall semester at Estrella Mountain consisted of just two classes: General Chemistry (CHM 151) and Introduction to Psychology (PSY 101). Of these two, I did not really have a favorite as they class set up was very different. Chemistry was more hands on, especially in the labs, which I really appreciate. Psychology was more textbook passed, but the assignments allowed for actual human observations and reflection based on what was learned in class. Of the two, psychology was the easiest: my family is into crime shows like Criminal Minds, so the terminology was surprisingly familiar. Both of these classes were extremely enjoyable and worth the time and effort put into them.

I have completed the application for graduation at Estrella Mountain and am really looking forward to graduation. In addition, I am also prepping for the move to San Antonio then Texas A&M. I’m excited for the opportunities that will come and taking that next step toward my future: a dual-major of Pre-Veterinary Science and Nursing. At San Antonio College, I will be taking the classes required for a degree in Texas (including American History and Texas History) and completing any classes that will go towards my bachelor’s degrees.

My “day job” is working as a chemistry 130 tutor at EMCC. This is my first semester tutoring and I wish had started sooner. While there can be a lot of down time, the students who come in for help really want to learn and are fun to get to know. My colleagues are around the same age as I am and we all get along well.  Twice a month, I volunteer for a mobile vet and have every intention of applying for a position at a local (San Antonio) vet clinic. For the last two years, I have also volunteered for four hours every Saturday at a Livestock Sanctuary and Rescue. The information and experience I have gained from this volunteer opportunity have been invaluable and will definitely help me in the future.

Crossroads Academy / Tonopah Academic Center has really helped me a lot in terms of college credits. At the end of this semester, I will have three Associates degrees: one in arts, one in science, and one for general studies. This school has definitely cut the cost of my college by three years.

My goal is to enroll into Texas A&M the spring of 2017. Texas A&M is in the top 5 for its veterinary program and it has been my dream to go to school there since I was eight.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this!


Laruen Grabowska


From left to right: 

Maria Salmeron, Amber Scarbrough and Christina Whiteaker!

December, 2016 Ms. Daizy Rodriguez.

Daizy would like to continue her education at Estrella Mountain Community College working toward a career as an Emergency Medical Technician!

Maria's inspirational statement: 

"The greatest thing, about being young is believing the whole world is in the grasp of your hands."

Maria was awarded a plaque with her feelings about graduating inscribed upon it!

A Note from Crystal.....

Looking Forward (A Work in Progress)

Enthusiastic – that is a term which I commonly hear when it comes to describing my feelings towards academics. Since my personal interests and schooling coincide commonly it is very often that my classes are happily awaited instead of dreaded. This spirit towards academia has been present with me for as long as I can remember though it especially flared during my high school years. Despite changing schools from public to online it has not declined my motivation to succeed in my studies. Such strive is what has brought me to where I am today and it is what continually 
encourages me to better myself in both my personal and professional life. This intangible feeling was only brought to my attention during recent years – specifically during my first year in high school at Tonopah Valley High School, and from it resulted new self-discoveries. Hence my school transfer, participation in dual-enrollment, and new careers goals which have brought me to this current point of my life.

2012 was the year I began to attend public high school at TVHS which I initially thought would be a fantastic challenge to face. During this time I joined Skills USA,
designed my graduating class’ t-shirts, volunteered in the community and attended all Honor’s classes which I could. Yet still, it just wasn’t enough for me since despite all these activities this “enthusiasm” of mine wasn’t really all that satisfied. As a result I decided to take even more challenging courses for my second year of high school in addition to more extracurricular. Hence my decision to become the secretary of Prom 
Committee, join Junior Varsity softball, and even finish Calculus by the end of my sophomore year. Nevertheless my time at this public school was not particularly satisfactory since there wasn’t any need for motivation on my part due to the fact that these courses were all – easy, “school was simple”. That statement brought about much frustration on my part so I thought it was time to find a new challenge.

At the end of my sophomore year I began to attend the Tonopah Academic Center (T.A.C.) in order to take advantage of their dual-enrollment program because
continuing to hone my knowledge and skills is more optimal than a vacation. I forwent my summer vacation and spent that time working on high school courses in
concurrence with some online college classes. It was during that time when I created a new goal for myself. I decided that I wanted to graduate with an Associate’s Degree in Science and earn my high school diploma at the same time. As a result I transferred to T.A.C. and began a full-time college workload for the next 2 years. In the beginning it was only online courses though within the past year my classes have begun to integrate more in-person courses until I was only in in-person classes. Now, thanks to the assistance of T.A.C., along with dedication on my part, I will be graduating in 
May of 2016 with two Associate degrees (Associate in Science, AS, and an Associate in Art, AA) as well as my high school diploma. During this time in the dual- 
enrollment program there have been specific moments and classes which most intrigued me – with the primary one being University Physics 1: Mechanics (PHY121). This was by far one of the most dually stressful and invigorating classes I have ever taken. Everything about it was just set up differently yet it was so refreshing to have such a dramatic change of pace.

The first week of class started off with a philosophical discussion about the definition of reality and by the end of the semester we understood the practical applications of Calculus I, force diagrams, how to 
measure the velocity of a bullet, and just so much more. Tables changed every week, everyone knew one another’s names, there were “Celebrations of Knowledge” instead of tests, and overall it was an amazing kind of stressful. Although the grading was a
little difficult to keep track of so I didn’t even know whether I was going to pass at the conclusion of the class, though pass I did, and with a “B” no less. I passed with a “B” in college physics when I was 16 for a class that typically has a “50%” dropout rate every semester (at least that’s what my peers kept on saying). All that knowledge I acquired and the satisfaction I gained by working through the course really solidified
my interest in the S.T.E.M. world and most especially the physics field.

Consequently this interest in physics also brought me to my new career goal of becoming an Officer of the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate program (NUPOC) in the Navy. For if there is one thing which can rival my interest in academics then it is my patriotism. I have volunteered at the voting polls for as long as I have been allowed and my family tree is riddled with military personnel serving in all parts of 
the Armed Forces. So as soon as I discovered a career path which allowed me to follow my interest while also serving my country I was ecstatic. NUPOC is an officer
program in the Navy which allows for close work with the nuclear power systems that power war ships, and submarines within the Navy. The fact that it also requires a profuse understanding of physics, engineering, and calculus concepts also intrigue me 
since I’ve been studying these concepts during my time as a college student. In short, this career was made for people like me and it is because of my time at Tonopah
Academic center that I’ll be pursuing this career goal though the requirements for this field are quite profuse I know I will be able to rise up to this challenge.

I am majoring in Physics at ASU next year.  I know that by being allowed an opportunity to attend ASU I will get a bachelor’s degree by 2018 and I will enter the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidacy Program in the Navy (I have already talked to the officer recruiter in Arizona and she agrees that I am a prime candidate for the program).

Overall despite some challenges I’ve found that the time I spent at the Tonopah Academic Center has really assisted me when it comes to discovering my passions
and strengthening my resolve. The dual-enrollment program especially brought about a new side of me and I am most glad it spurred me to find an alternative for my future, since the NUPOC program is a career which I find most enjoyable for the future.

Basically what I am trying to say is that high school has been a proverbial roller coaster which has brought many a grace and curse for me but in the end this program assisted in my growth as not only a student but, most importantly, a person – and for that I am grateful to T.A.C. and also you for reading through this letter and giving me a chance, thank you.


Crystal Bush