Graduation goals

Local News

CERRO GORDO, Ill. (WCIA) — Two students from Cerro Gordo got their college degrees before they graduated from high school.

Levi Neaveill and Mason McNamara earned associates degrees from Richland Community College and walked across the stage there a week before they finished high school. They say it was a combination of time management, dedication, and very little sleep.but with both diplomas in hand, it was all worth it. 

For most high school students, the next step is college. But Levi Neaveill and Mason McNamara have already done both.

“The associates degree was to put me two years ahead. So instead of going four years to a four year university I’ll only have to go two.”

It wasn’t easy. They say their schedule was booked all week, every week.

“I’d wake up around 7-7:30 and either ride the bus to Richland or drive over.”

They had college classes in the morning, and high school in the afternoon, full time students at both Richland and Cerro Gordo. Plus, they both had part time jobs.

“It was pretty difficult to juggle all of it.”

If all that wasn’t enough, add in the extra curricular activities.

“I’m involved in football, basketball, track, as well as band and the drama plays in theater.”

These guys encouraged each other through it all.

“It was nice to just be able to talk to him when things were getting difficult or exam time was coming up and we could study together.”

They’ve grown close over the last two years.

“We had an intro to biology class together and that was a big time commitment. So we’d be studying a lot with a lot and it was definitely better than to do it alone.”

Teamwork was the name of the game, and their parents were there for them every step of the way.

“Determination, just pressing on until the end, finishing the race strong and helping each other along the way.”

As they walk down the steps of their high school for the last time, they say they’re ready to take a big step forward toward the future.

Neaveill will be going to UI, double majoring in finance and economics. McNamara is headed to Baylor University and plans continue on to medical school.

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