Liberty twins earn Lee College associates degrees at 16

Matthew and Joseph Girard, 16, of Liberty, have earned their associates degrees from Lee College while in high school.

Joseph Girard of Liberty says it appears any ambitious middle school student with decent grades can waltz themselves into a great community college like Lee College and request admissions testing. 

Matthew and Joseph Girard, now 16, started at Lee in the seventh grade, and it could have been earlier.  They say early planning of which high school to attend, with dual credit options in conjunction with the community college, is important. 

Some districts have a program with an early (college) start high school where a high school diploma and associate’s degree are conferred at high school graduation (for example, IMPACT Early College High School in Baytown). 

With the great Liberty ISD and Lee College’s support, these young men just barreled through the full curriculum without a formal program, securing needed approvals along the way.   

Matthew said administrators don’t tend to hold back on requests of ambitious young students.  Both guys speak very highly of the district and Lee College. 

They took many courses online and also enjoyed face-to-face instruction at the local Liberty Lee College campus.  They’ve maintained a 4.0 GPA at Lee despite being in the marching and jazz bands on saxophones.  They also well represent LISD by participating in numerous academic and band UIL competitions. 

There were a few extra dual credit or Lee classes taken along the way, so they’ll both have completed two degrees and graduate from Lee at the Spring graduation ceremony on the main campus in Baytown on May 13.  The two degrees Matthew and Joseph will have before starting their high school senior year are their primary degree in Business (Associate of Science/AS) and a second degree in General Studies (Associate of Arts/AA).

The Girard twins would like to see more Liberty County students leveraging this opportunity.  It’s very doable if done right, such as starting slow and taking mini-May classes each summer. Matthew and Joseph hope to work with administrators at LISD, and Lee as needed, to allow students to start dual credit earlier and to directly inform and encourage the higher performing younger students about this great opportunity.

“The family is so very grateful to former superintendent Cody Abshier, and this great service all started with the current superintendent Dusty McGee when he was the Liberty Elementary School principal for the boys in 5th grade,” said their father, Craig Girard. “Cody and Dusty, the principals and counselors, and all staff throughout LISD are stellar.  And much gratitude goes to the many hard-working teachers that helped these young men.”

“The LISD/Lee partnership rocks!” added Joseph.

The family also praised the Southeast Co-op for seven years of amazing support. 

Previous articleJohn Daniel Keen
Next articleLiberty Municipal Library Memorials and Honorariums
Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.