Not an ordinary high school student, Joshua McDonald, 18, is also a college student at Mesa Community College. As most students prepare for one graduation, McDonald plans for two: one from high school and one from MCC.
McDonald is one of 9 high school students at the Arizona Agribusiness Equine Center who will graduate from MCC this month. The courses he has taken count toward college credit that can transfer to a 2-year or 4-year college.
AAEC is a four-campus independent high school that specializes in a college preparatory program. All campuses are located next to or on a community college campus to help students prepare for college-level studies.
McDonald will be receiving two degrees from MCC: an associate of arts degree and an associate of general studies degree. He will be transferring to Arizona State University with a 4.0 GPA. He plans to major in chemical engineering and wants to get into Barrett Honors College at ASU.
McDonald’s plans are to study chemical reactions for a future career working with explosives or to use his knowledge and resources to help humanity.
“I’ll be going into ASU as a freshman, but I’ll already have credits that transfer there. It’s nice that I have a head start and have credits towards my degree. I already have a feel of how to manage my time and how college courses are,” McDonald said.
McDonald found his college courses and instructors to be different and more demanding than his high school courses.
“My MCC instructors helped me by going into more depth about the subjects they would teach. Like math, I would be pushed more and be challenged,” McDonald said.
Being dual enrolled has not stopped McDonald from activities with his church and volunteering.
He participates in his church softball league and enjoys playing basketball. His first mission trip to Latvia in Eastern Europe inspired him to get more involved with volunteering. He went to Latvia for a summer camp to help teach kids English. Additionally, he has gone with his church to help feed the homeless in San Francisco and build houses in Mexico.
The experiences inspire him to continue along the path.
“The trip to Latvia changed me the most. It was the farthest and longest away and I didn’t know what to expect. It’s different to experience another cultural aspect and I wanted to keep helping people,” McDonald said.