At 18, a diploma in one hand and a degree in the other

Posted on: June 22, 2012

At 18, even before graduating from high school, Christine LaFoy has reached a milestone—an associate degree.

A student in College of the Mainland’s Collegiate High School for the last two years, she graduated in May with an associate degree in natural science. She will receive her diploma from Dickinson High School June 1.

“I wanted a challenge,” she said. Taking as few as 16 or as many as 21 credits each semester, LaFoy said, “College definitely gave me a challenge.” One of her greatest struggles was physics. “I never had physics in high school, so I was jumping directly into college physics. That was hard.”

LaFoy persevered and excelled. She graduated with a 4.0 GPA.

As a college student, LaFoy had many opportunities not available in high school. “People didn’t look at me as a high school student. They just looked at me as a college student,” she said. She enjoyed the greater freedom and responsibility.

She became a member of Phi Theta Kappa. “That opened a lot of doors to me,” she said. She enjoyed traveling to PTK conferences, both in and out of state, to learn about achieving success in college and life. As the Service and Fellowship chair for Phi Theta Kappa, she organized service projects and fellowships with other Phi Theta Kappa chapters.

While actively involved on campus, LaFoy still found time to regularly volunteer in the community. Each Saturday morning, she volunteers with the Luke Society, a street mission in Galveston that offers regular medical care to the uninsured and homeless. She became involved in the mission after one visit. "I fell in love with it,” she said. “I don’t mind waking up early to go do that.” She has gone almost every week, except during hurricanes, for the last six years. She also volunteers at Mainland Medical Hospital in the geriatric psychiatry ward.

LaFoy has received many scholarships. She is a member of the All-Texas Team, which awarded her a $20,000 scholarship to UT Arlington. She is also a Moody Scholar, Amoco Scholar and a 2012 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Bronze Scholar, which is awarded based on community service, leadership and academic merit.

“She is the ideal student. She studies. She’s respectful,” said Luanne Edens, Collegiate High School transition coordinator. “If I could have 2,500 of her, I would.”

Collegiate High School has helped her grow, LaFoy said. “I speak my mind more.” She feels that her college courses have encouraged greater discussion than high school classes. “She’s bloomed. She’s not the child she was two years ago,” said her mother, Martha LaFoy.

LaFoy plans to attend UT Arlington and earn a bachelor’s in biology before attending medical school.

Before she leaves for college, she has one more project planned.

She will travel to Belize this summer to volunteer with a team of ophthalmologists on a nine-day medical mission.

“I love to volunteer,” said LaFoy. “I feel great when I help others.”


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