CORTLAND — Almost every student graduates from high school before college, but not Abbie Campana — she did it backwards.
Campana, 17, of Cortland, graduated with an associate degree in business administration from Youngstown State University on May 7 — two weeks before graduating valedictorian from Lakeview High School.
“It’s surreal. It was crazy to have two diplomas in hand at Lakeview graduation,” said Campana.
She was the first Lakeview student to graduate from high school and college, according to a school district Facebook post celebrating her achievement.
Campana started by taking some college credits online her sophomore year of high school — introduction to sociology, introduction to psychology and US government — then sat down with her parents and charted her educational trajectory from there. . Soon she realized she could get a degree.
Although she has two older sisters, Kaetlin and Emily, who are or are about to be registered nurses, Campana said she knows she doesn’t want to get into the medical field. Business, however, piqued her interest, she said.
This fall, Campana will enter the Bowling Green University campus with the status of a junior thanks to her transfer credits. If she plays her cards right, she will graduate in three semesters at the age of 19.
She plans to study supply chain management.
“I think it’s interesting to look at the flow of how goods go from raw material to finished consumer product,” said Campana. She added laughing “That’s something that’s missing right now.”
Campana chose Bowling Green for the next chapter of his education because it’s “very much a university town” and just far enough from home. She’s not nervous about going to college because she’s done it for the most part — for half of her freshman year and her entire senior year of high school, she was attending YSU full time, with all its classes on campus, to earn 80 credit hours.
Her college teachers didn’t know she was in high school unless she told them, she said. She told instructor Michelle Green because of an age limit in Green’s class — and it sparked a mentorship that Campana said she will always remember.
“She just kind of took me under her wing” said Campana. “It was awesome because I sent him a thank you email, and we’re still in touch…I could always come back and reach out throughout my life.”
While completing her associate’s degree, Campana continued to play softball and remain involved in Lakeview. She was a member of the National Honor Society and the Beta Club – both focused on community service – and served on the junior executive committee her freshman year. An avid snowboarder, Campana was also in a ski club.
Campana returned to high school for pep rallies and basketball and soccer games, she said. She didn’t walk to YSU’s graduation because she wanted to go to the Lakeview prom instead.
Bouncing back and forth, Campana said she retained her friends from high school and also made new friends in college.
“In college, it’s really easy to make friends. You sit next to someone and the next day you’re already like best friends,” said Campana.
In addition to her two older sisters, Campana has a younger brother, Jason, who will be a sophomore at Lakeview next year. Her mother, Angela, is a teacher in another school district and a member of the Lakeview School Board, and her father is a heavy equipment operator, she said.
Campana is looking forward to taking the summer in and relaxing after a very, very busy school year. Then, she wants to start running and start doing internships while she finishes her studies.
As for going to college while in high school, Campana encourages anyone considering it to give it a try.
“I would say do it. It was great and you could always go back to high school if you didn’t like it. said Campana.