2 diplomas in 2 weeks: Senior finishes college with honors ahead of GHS graduation

NCTC graduate and Gainesville High School senior Matilin Rigsby receives her diploma during college commencement exercises Friday, May 17.

Gainesville High School senior Matilin Rigsby is one of only a handful of students to graduate with associate degrees before receiving their high school diplomas this month. Rigsby, however, is rare as she is graduating from the North Central Texas College Honors Program.

On Friday, May 17, Rigsby walked the stage at the University of North Texas Coliseum and received her Associate of Arts degree from North Central Texas College. She’ll receive another diploma — for completing high school — next Tuesday at Gainesville High School’s graduation, also taking place at UNT.

Rigsby set ambitious goals for herself early on and completed 12 hours of honors coursework as a dual credit student in order to graduate from the NCTC Honors Program, according to an NCTC press release.

While at NCTC, Rigsby completed various research projects for her honors coursework. Her economics project examined the investment of attending a post-secondary institution. She analyzed whether the cost of attending various colleges, majors and degree programs is worth the financial investment and compared how those educational choices can impact future financial success.

“This was a project I was very excited to research because I myself am a senior who has the burden of making these college decisions that could affect my entire future,” Rigsby said in the release.

Her economics professor, Melissa Blankenship, was impressed with Rigsby’s work on her honors project.

“I think that Matilin has created a resource that would be valuable for all high school seniors,” said Blankenship. “She incorporated both the micro, or individual, aspects of the value of education, as well as the macro, or societal, aspects.”

Rigsby plans to attend Texas A&M University in the fall, majoring in public health with the intent to pursue a career in epidemiology, the research and development of solutions to global health epidemics. She has already been accepted to the honors program at Texas A&M and an into an exclusive organization, the Broad Street Society — a group of 20 to 30 public health students who are accepted by writing a proposal and step-by-step solution to a current public health crisis.

“I am so thankful that my counselor, Mrs. Strait, and NCTC Professor Jill Swarner encouraged me to not only pursue my degree but also join the Honors Program,” Rigsby said, “because although the work was rigorous, I gained so much confidence by proving to myself that I could handle it. I hope more dual credit students feel motivated to get involved at NCTC by joining the Honors Program, Phi Theta Kappa, or the Student Government Association, just to name a few.”

More information on NCTC honors courses is available by emailing NCTC Honors Program Director Jill Swarner at jswarner@nctc.edu.

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