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Lucero Rodriguez had heard about the Premier High School program while in eighth grade, but it was not until she had finished her sophomore year at her local public school that she decided to enroll at a Premier High School campus. Now she is 17 years old and almost done with her first semester of college thanks to Premier High School’s accelerated program.

“I wanted a change of environment, but I was not thinking I would graduate early when I started. It was a real shock,” says Lucero.

She had started her junior year at the Premier High School campus located in Mission and later transferred to the campus in Palmview. In the process of transferring she realized she only needed ten more credits to graduate.

“I kept working on my packets and advancing in credits. My teacher said I could graduate early if I kept accelerating my pace. I told my mom and she really encouraged me so I decided to go for it,” Lucero explains.

According to Lucero, the transition from the traditional public high school was a bigger change than from Premier High School to Texas A&M Kingsville.

“It was a big change to Premier High School because at the regular high school, the teachers always give you everything. They would spoon feed you. At Premier High School you get out as much as you put in. Your teachers will help you, but if you wanted to get a certain number of credits by the end of the year, you have to do it on your own. It really helped me prepare for college,” says Lucero.

In addition to the ability to take responsibility for her own education and accelerate her pace, Lucero also appreciated the smaller environment at Premier High School that allowed her to get to know her teachers and classmates. One of her teachers who serves as a mentor is Edgar Martinez who taught her math.

“I was very proud of her and surprised. She is very ambitious and has the ability to reach her goals. She is so focused and like no other student I have ever seen before. She visits frequently and helps out around the campus,” says Martinez.

Even though she now lives a few hours from the campus, Lucero will often stop by when she visits home for a long weekend so she can help out and tutor current students in math.

While she had originally thought she might want to pursue a degree in criminal justice, Lucero settled on architectural engineering after getting to talk to a few engineers and her mentor Mr. Martinez who also studied engineering. In addition, she plans to complete a minor in Spanish.

While at Premier High School, Lucero was president of the student council, a member of the book club and involved in many other extracurriculars so that she could get to know her fellow classmates. When she comes back to visit, she encourages her former classmates to work hard.

“The students here were in awe when she came to visit. She was like a celebrity, but she shared with them the ins and out of college and gave them advice,” says Martinez.

After she graduates, Lucero plans to get a job in architectural engineering and work towards her masters.

Lucero’s advice for graduating seniors is to, “Be prepared for the change from high school to college. Keep your mind set on your priorities because here you have a lot of things going on and you can’t do everything.”

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