Lindsay Gardels will graduate from community college before she finishes high school.
Gardels will walk in two commencement ceremonies this month, one at the College of Eastern Idaho and one at Skyline High School.
Gardels is the first high school student to earn their associate degree at College of Eastern Idaho while also being enrolled in high school, CEI Marketing Director Todd Wightman said.
“If I’m talking to a high schooler, I’m a high school student. But in general, I’m a CEI student,” Gardels said. “I do feel like I’m growing up too fast sometimes, but I’ve also enjoyed it because I’ve been able to learn so many new things.”
Gardels will be one of 262 students who will receive their associate degree and one of 243 students to graduate from Skyline.
She enrolled in CEI’s dual-enrollment program, which allows students to take college-level courses that count toward both their associate degree and their General Education Development diplomas, before her junior year at Skyline.
As a 16-year-old, Gardels took college-level courses at the College of Eastern Idaho campus alongside her older sister’s friends.
She said taking classes with her sister’s friends and with older community members made her feel more mature and older than she is. Forty-one percent of students who enroll at College of Eastern Idaho are 18 to 30 years old
“I kind of feel like my (20-year-old) sister in a way,” said Gardels, who turned 18 this week. “It feels weird.”
She’s graduating from CEI with an associate of applied science. CEI’s commencement is at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Civic Center for the Performing Arts.
Skyline High School’s graduation ceremony is at 7 p.m. May 28 at Skyline’s gymnasium.
After walking at both ceremonies, she expects to study accounting at Brigham Young University-Idaho before getting a master’s degree at Brigham Young University-Provo.
“I feel like I can do so much more because I’m ahead and start doing what I want to do with my life early,” Gardels said.