Chandler Johnson will be making history on May 6 when he walks on stage to accept his diploma during the Madisonville Community College (MCC) graduation ceremony. He will be the first MCC student to graduate with an Associate in Science degree before graduating high school. Johnson, of Central City, will be graduating with high honors from Muhlenberg County High School later this month.

Johnson s first experience with earning college credit was in his freshman year with the successful completion of an Advanced Placement (AP) Human Geography course. Fueled by success, he earned more college credit through AP courses in his sophomore year and began taking dual credit courses in his junior year, earning more than 30 college credit hours through MCC. The discovery of CLEP - The College-Level Examination Program opened the pathway to earn more credit. CLEP provides students of any age with the opportunity to demonstrate college-level achievement through a program of computer exams in undergraduate general education college courses. Johnson earned 13 credit hours in math through CLEP exams, 12 credit hours through AP coursework, and the remainder through dual credit and online courses offered by MCC.

Johnson shared his reason behind working towards an associate degree, At all the state schools in Kentucky, if you have a degree it transfers as a credential and I don t have to take any general education courses anywhere I chose to go. It worked really well for me as I was undecided on where I wanted to go when scholarships came back. I thought this is probably the best option for me (to avoid transferring individual credits). It was about 2 years ago that I sat down and looked at (MCC s) programs and figured out that I could potentially pull off this degree. I now have 69 hours.

In addition to high school and college coursework, Johnson is involved in a host of extracurricular activities including 4-H Club, National Honor Society, Beta Club, and tennis. Taking online classes has allowed him the time and flexibility to complete his degree without being on campus

During the summer of 2015, he participated in the Kentucky Governor s Scholar Program at Bellarmine University. This summer he will be participating in the University of Kentucky Professional Education Preparation Program (PEPP). The 4-week residential summer experience provides support for students from under-served Kentucky counties who wish to pursue a career in Medicine or Dentistry. The program provides an introduction to the careers through academic enrichment, admissions guidance, health-related seminars and experiences, and clinical/hospital rotations at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center.

Johnson is not the only community college graduate in his family. He proudly shares this distinction with his grandmother, Doris Johnson, who graduated at the age of 63 with a degree in Human Services. Johnson shared that he attended his grandmother s graduation ceremony and now she will be attending his.

Johnson will be attending the University of Kentucky this fall on the Otis A. Singletary Scholarship, a competitive four-year award providing the cost of tuition and an allowance for room and board. He will be pursing undergraduate coursework in biochemistry and eventually medical school.

Johnson lives in Central City with his parents, Angie and Bryon Johnson, and sister Addison.