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800 students to receive Columbus State associate degrees

Press Release | Tuesday, December 12, 2017

When Columbus State Community College holds its 195th commencement this week, more than 800 students will earn degrees. Among them is a young student who was able to use the College Credit Plus program to earn her high school diploma and a college degree simultaneously. The state-sponsored program allows any student to take tuition-free college-level classes and earn credits for high school and college at the same time.

Amara Leggett, 16, was always ahead of the curve. She began taking some high school classes in middle school. So naturally, when she began attending New Albany High School, she was ready for some college classes. Columbus State was more than ready to assist.
Leggett has been accepted at the Florida Institute of Technology where she plans to earn her bachelor's degree in Computer Science with a goal of earning a Ph.D. by the age of 21.

Twenty-four-year-old Randy Pheng will be the first in his family to graduate from college. His parents immigrated to the United States from Cambodia before he was born. While in middle school he was part of TRiO and Upward Bound. Both are federal programs designed to increase access to higher education for economically disadvantaged students. Pheng says Upward Bound "pushed him to the limit."

While attending Columbus State, Pheng was a coordinator for a program called the Man Initiative. It provides mentors for students on campus to help guide them. He's been accepted at Miami University where he will pursue an electro mechanical engineering degree.

Some students take all of their classes on Columbus State's Delaware Campus. Nicole Cardwell, 20, was there every week, Monday through Friday. She even served as a peer mentor which allowed her to assist and support other students one-on-one. Cardwell will attend The Ohio State University to begin work on a bachelor's degree in Business Administration.

The commencement speaker will be Keith B. Key, Board Member and Immediate Past Chair of the Columbus State Foundation and owner of Keith B. Key Enterprises and Omni Management Group. That company works with banks and private corporations to foster real estate development. In only a few short years, Omni Management Group became one of the nation's largest African-American real estate development firms.

The combined commencement for summer and autumn semesters will be Friday, December 15 at 10 a.m. at the Celeste Center on the Ohio State Fairgrounds, 717 East 17th Ave., Columbus. A live stream of the event will be available at:

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