Not many graduate high school and college at 17.
However, Taryn Henderson, a Miami Dade College student in the School of Advanced Studies program, will be doing just that this June—with a 3.9 GPA, 6.8 weighted.
Henderson, who is one of 100 students in the SAS program at North Campus, is a college student from 7:20 a.m. to 11:05 a.m., and a high school student from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Each semester, students enrolled in the program take a minimum of three college courses and four advanced placement high school courses. They receive free tuition and free textbooks.
The SAS dual-enrollment program allows students the opportunity to graduate with a high school diploma and an associated of arts degree from MDC in two years.
“Thanks to SAS I have learned how to study and manage my time, and it made me ready for college,” Henderson said. “ Its not that I wanted to graduate faster than everyone else, but because I didn’t feel challenged. I knew I would also save a lot of money.”
Henderson, who attended North Miami Beach Senior High School before becoming part of the SAS program, aspires to become an emergency room doctor.
“I’m really proud of her, and I’m glad MDC established a program that allows students to excel,” said Henderson’s grandmother, Patricia Rice, a North Campus public safety dispatcher. “Her goal is to be a doctor, and with programs like SAS it allowed her to be given this challenge and opportunity. I wish they had this program when I was in school.”
Apart from going to school, Henderson babysits almost every day and works at Hollister at Aventura Mall on the weekends.
Henderson knows English and Spanish and is currently learning sign language; she hopes to learn Mandarin. She enjoys traveling and has visited Japan, New York, California and Georgia.
Traveling has helped Henderson expand her horizons. As such, she has applied to Harvard University, Columbia University, New York University, Emory University and the University of Miami.
“I think it is part of her background for her to have this thirst for knowledge,” Rice said. “I share the same thirst and so does her mother.”
And Henderson is quick to deflect attention from her accomplishments.
“There [are] so many of us that are doing so well,” Henderson said, referring to her SAS peers. “I’m not that different. I go shopping and I go out with my friends. I just do the things any normal girl would do.”
Henderson, Rice said, has never been the type to gloat.
“She is very modest,” Rice said. “It is in her nature to be an unsung hero. She’ll do great, I’m sure of it.”