DELANO, Calif. (KGET) — With graduation season in full swing, a Delano High senior is graduating not only with a diploma but with an associate’s degree from Bakersfield College.
Graduating high school is a feat in itself, but for Alejandro Hernandez, he went above graduating from high school early and getting a head start in college at the same time. While at Delano High, he took part in the Early College program offered by Bakersfield College, which helps students earn both high school and college credits.
“You got to shoot for the stars, you know,” he said. “Doing that is honestly it worked out pretty well for me.”
At just 16 years old, Hernandez will graduate in less than three years with a 4.4 GPA and an associate’s degree in liberal arts from BC.
“What this degree does basically it means I don’t have to take two years’ worth of classes,” he said.
Come fall, Hernandez will be a junior at University of California, Berkeley, majoring in electrical engineering and computer science.
Alejandro’s parents, Ernesto and Hortencia Hernandez, immigrated from Mexico to Earlimart and worked in the fields to provide for their family. When both parents were unable to work due to their health, they had more time to be there for their son.
“You first have to put your children first in order to encourage them to succeed,” Ernesto said.
Attending a four-year public university in California can cost more than $10,000 a year, according to the 2020 annual report by the College Board. Fortunately, Hernandez was awarded the 2021 Gates Scholarship, a highly competitive, prestigious award that pays the full cost of college.
“We are very proud of him, and he always worked hard,” said his mother, Hortencia Hernandez.
“‘I’m going to get good grades to get ahead’ is what he would tell me a long time ago,” Ernesto said.
Alejandro is a great example that hard work pays off no matter where you come from.
“Just because you’re here at DHS you can still achieve great things,” he said.