Delano High senior graduated with diploma, associate degree from Bakersfield College
DELANO, Calif. (KGET) — With graduation season in full swing, a Delano High senior is earning not only a diploma, but also an associate’s degree from Bakersfield College.
Graduating from high school is an achievement in itself, but for Alejandro Hernandez, he went beyond graduating from high school early and getting a head start in college the same time. While at Delano High, he participated in the Early College Program offered by Bakersfield College, which helps students earn high school and college credits.
“You have to aim for the stars, you know,” he said. “Honestly, it worked out pretty well for me.”
At just 16, Hernandez will graduate in less than three years with a 4.4 GPA and an associate’s degree in liberal arts from British Columbia.
“Basically this degree means I don’t have to take two years of classes,” he said.
In the fall, Hernandez will be a junior at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in electrical engineering and computer science.
Alejandro’s parents, Ernesto and Hortencia Hernandez, immigrated to Earlimart from Mexico and worked in the fields to support their family. When both parents were unable to work due to health conditions, they had more time to be there for their son.
“You have to put your kids first in order to encourage them to succeed,” Ernesto said.
According to the College Board’s 2020 Annual Report, attending a four-year public university in California can cost upwards of $10,000 per year. Luckily, Hernandez was awarded the 2021 Gates Scholarship, a prestigious and highly competitive award that pays the full cost of college.
“We are very proud of him, and he has always worked hard,” said his mother, Hortencia Hernandez.
“‘I’m going to get good grades to advance’, that’s what he used to tell me a long time ago,” Ernesto said.
Alejandro is a prime example that hard work pays off no matter where you are from.
“Just because you’re here at DHS doesn’t mean you can still achieve great things,” he said.