DELANO, Calif. (KGET) – While the graduation season is in full swing, a Delano High Senior graduates with not only a diploma but also an associate degree from Bakersfield College.
Graduating from high school is an accomplishment in itself, but for Alejandro Hernandez it went beyond early high school graduation while also gaining a head start in college. While at Delano High, he participated in Bakersfield College’s Early College program, which helps students earn both high school and college credits.
“You have to shoot for the stars, you know,” he said. “Doing that is honestly, it worked out pretty well for me.”
At just 16, Hernandez will graduate with a 4.4 GPA and an Associate Degree in Humanities from BC in less than three years.
“What this degree basically means means that I don’t have to take two years of classes,” he said.
In the fall, Hernandez will be junior at the University of California at Berkeley with a focus on electrical engineering and computer science.
Alejandro’s parents, Ernesto and Hortencia Hernandez, immigrated to Earlimart from Mexico and worked in the fields to provide for their families. If both parents were unable to work for health reasons, they had more time to be there for their son.
“You have to put your children first to encourage them to succeed,” said Ernesto.
Attending a four-year public university in California can cost more than $ 10,000 a year, according to the College Board’s 2020 annual report. Fortunately, Hernandez received the 2021 Gates Scholarship, an extremely competitive, prestigious award that pays the full cost of college.
“We are very proud of him and he has always worked hard,” said his mother Hortencia Hernandez.
“‘I will get good grades to get ahead,’ he told me a long time ago,” said Ernesto.
Alejandro is a great example of how hard work pays off no matter where you are from.
“Just because you’re here at DHS you can still achieve great things,” he said.