High school graduation is a time of celebration for students everywhere, but for 18 -year-old Raven Osborne, it was twice as exciting. Years of hard work and study earned her not only a high school diploma, but a college degree as well.
On May 5th, she received her Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University Northwest. During the same month, she will receive her High School Diploma from the 21st Century Charter High School in Gary.
Osborne learned of the opportunity to study through the Middle College Program while still in middle school. She heard of another student who received his associate degree and decided that she wanted to participate in the program as well. The charter school provided transportation and funding for Osborne and other qualifying students to attend college courses while still studying in high school.
“One of my classmates, he and I were enrolled in our very first college class together and there were others as well,” Osborne said.
Many students at the 21st Century Charter school achieve an associate degree before their high school graduation. Osborne, however, took it a step further and received her Bachelor’s degree.
“I was worried because I was going to finish my associate degree early, but they told me to go as far as I could and that they would support me,” Osborne said.
Osborne used her time wisely, balancing high school courses and college coursework, even taking classes through the summer for credit. Her determination provided her with a degree and a unique opportunity. At 18, she now has plans to begin teaching at the Charter School this fall.
“I didn't always know that I wanted to be a teacher,” Osborne said. “I enjoy working with children and started taking early childhood education classes and really enjoyed them.”
In August, Osborne will begin teaching reading intervention to children attending the charter school. The school focuses on allowing children to excel as quickly as their abilities allow, giving students the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. Though Osborne is unsure of what grade she’ll be with, she’s excited to work with the children and give them the opportunity to learn and grow.
“I’ll take the students who are struggling with reading and give them one-on-one instruction,” Osborne said.
Looking to the future, Osborne is considering applying to a master’s degree program in social work.
For now, though, she’s relieved to have accomplished so much and looks forward to a well-deserved break. She plans to relax for the summer, enjoying her time off before beginning teaching in the fall.
“I feel relieved. I am so happy that I even had the opportunity to take advantage of a program like this,” she said. “I really enjoyed the program and it helped me out so much.”
In her spare time, Osborne enjoys reading books and catching them before the movie comes out. She goes bowling and attends baseball games as well. She also enjoys the support she’s received from her Northwest Indiana community.
“I don’t think I would have had this opportunity or support anywhere else,” Osborn said. “I’ve gotten a lot of messages from people in Northwest Indiana supporting me.”