DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – Calhoun Community College students took the stage for graduation on Thursday, and among them, a high school senior.

18-year-old Lucas Hasting will not receive his diploma from Austin High School until May 24, but he has already walked across the stage after completing his Associate of Applied Science from Calhoun Community College.

The Decatur senior enrolled at Calhoun back in the summer of 2020. After completing a high school research paper on cyber security, he decided to pursue a degree in computer information systems.

“I feel like I am much better prepared than I would have been, especially for taking those harder level college classes,” Hasting said.

Though the classes were challenging, Hasting said he is proud to have finished his degree.

“I will have a college degree and a high school diploma, one in each hand,” Hasting said.

Calhoun’s dual enrollment program allows high school students to get a head start on college. They can sign up for classes that count towards both their high school diploma and college degree.

Calhoun Community College Interim President Dr. Jimmy Hodges said much of the program is funded by the state, meaning students can take college classes without accumulating debt.

“The student who takes advantage of these career and technical scholarships for dual enrollment classes is very wise and saves their parent’s money,” Hodges said. “Those students make better college students because they’re already getting used to the college life while they’re dually enrolled.”

The Calhoun Community College graduation ceremony took place at the Von Braun Center on May 12.