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DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – One student will be getting a degree from Calhoun Community College…before getting his high school diploma.

Lucas Hasting, 18, will be walking in Calhoun’s graduation ceremony at Huntsville’s Von Braun Center on May 12, but how did he do it?

Dual enrollment.

While sitting in my advanced freshman English class at Austin High School, we were told by our teacher that representatives of Calhoun Community College wanted to speak with us. The representative explained how we could attend college while going to school at the same time. I was already enrolled in AP courses, but this was different. They explained that the college courses we would be taking could be used towards a degree and that not only could I finish high school with an advanced diploma with my AP courses, but I could also receive a college degree. At that point, I was sold.

Lucas Hasting

Calhoun’s dual enrollment program gives eligible high school students a chance to enroll in college classes concurrently with their high school classes, taking them at their high school or at one of Calhoun’s campuses, receiving credit at Calhoun and their high school.

“We can’t stress enough to parents and students how important and vital it is to understand what an awesome program this is. Not only are you helping your child to advance, but they could enter into the workforce with a great paying career at 18 and little to no student loan debt at all,”

Calhoun Community College Dual Enrollment Director Gwen Baker

Hasting started his journey at Calhoun in summer 2020 with a free course on the Python computer programming language. While Calhoun said Hasting wasn’t initially sure what he wanted to major in, he decided to pursue a computer information systems degree after completing a research paper for a high school class.

The degree fit in well with Hasting’s passion for cybersecurity.

I knew how important this would be for not only my high school goals but also my future career in Cyber Security. So I set aside time throughout the day to concentrate on completing my college work for the week in advance and kept up with any other tasks by keeping lists

Lucas Hasting

While things started off easy, Hasting said it got harder once he started his junior year of high school.

I would say the hardest part was when I entered my junior year of high school and I had to take AP Computer Science A, which required more work outside of class. It became difficult to juggle those projects, but I am proud to say, I made it through.”

Lucas Hasting

Two weeks after getting his Associate of Applied Science degree with a concentration in Cyber Security and Information Technology, Hasting will walk again in Austin High’s May 24 ceremony at the Austin High Football Stadium.

For more information on Calhoun’s dual enrollment program, visit Calhoun’s website.