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Record number of Steele ECHS students earn associate degrees

Record number of Steele ECHS students earn associate degrees
Images of 25 students who earned associate degrees

A record 25 seniors from James M. Steele Early College High School will walk across the stage twice in May as they will accept their associate degrees from Tarrant County College just one week prior to receiving their official high school diplomas.

Officially designated as an Early College High School by the Texas Education Agency, Steele provides students with a career and collegiate-focused advanced learning environment.  Students are able to maximize their competitive advantage by enrolling in dual credit high school and collegiate classes.  

Steele ECHS focuses on Texas Core courses – those that will transfer to all Texas public colleges and universities – as well as supporting students as they pursue their associate degrees through Tarrant County College. Students have the opportunity to complete two years of their collegiate education and can be classified as sophomores or juniors when enrolling in a four-year college.

Steele students in the Class of 2024 will leave high school having earned a total of 1,828 dual credit college hours, saving themselves and their families thousands of dollars in tuition. 

“One of the biggest advantages of attending Steele is being able to save time and money on my degree,” said Isabel Mercado, a Steele senior who will attend the University of North Texas and study education. “I worked for four years, and I will get two years of college from it without having to pay anything. I should finish at UNT in two years and will be a 20-year-old when I enter the workforce with the goal of being a kindergarten teacher.”

In addition to the financial advantages, there are also major academic advantages that students gain from their experiences at Steele ECHS. 

“Taking college-level classes in high school is going to make my transition to a four-year college campus a lot smoother because I was already introduced to the workload and expectations that there will be,” said Yash Gupta, a current Steele senior who will attend the University of Texas at Dallas and study computer engineering. “Also, earning two years off my bachelor’s while in high school makes it so that I can enter the workforce a lot earlier, which allows me to get more experience sooner.”

From accounting to psychology to cybersecurity to zoology, Steele’s 25 students who have earned their associate degrees have a variety of interests and will be studying at universities throughout Texas and the United States. However, no matter how far they go and what impact they make on the world, they will all forever be linked as Steele Stallions.

“Earning a college associate degree in high school is a great accomplishment and we are so proud of our 25 Steele seniors,” said Todd Rogers, principal of Steele ECHS. “They have worked hard for four years to achieve their goals and have left a positive legacy at Steele.”

Below is a complete list of Steele Early College High School’s 2024 associate degree earners. 

Each of the listed students will graduate with their associate degree from Tarrant County College in early May. Following, Steele Early College High School’s graduation will take place on May 24, 2023.

To learn more about Steele Early College High School, please visit the school’s website.

Associate Degree Earners

Jonah Banis

Texas A&M University


Nathan Barton

University of North Texas

Business & Philosophy

Zia Braimah

United States Air Force


Reagan Chapman

University of Texas at Austin


Conner Childs

University of Texas at Austin


Avery Coker

Texas Christian University


Alyssa Erdmann

Tarleton State University


Annabelle Eslick

University of North Texas


Matthew Filardi

University of North Texas


Kaylah Fleming

University of Pittsburgh

Public Health

Sarah Fraser

Stephen F. Austin State University  Nursing

Jaylan Gomez

Texas Tech University

Criminology/Criminal Justice

Nathan Gonzalez

University of North Texas


Yash Gupta

University of Texas at Dallas

Computer Engineering

Lucas Hawkins

University of Texas at Austin

Aerospace Engineering
Sofia Helzerman

Liberty University


Jaden McCain

Texas Tech University


Isabel Mercado

University of North Texas


Makenna Morgan

University of Texas at Austin

Marketing/Business Admin

Prince Nnadi

Texas Tech University

Computer Science

Ethan Rine

Oklahoma State University

Political Science/Pre-Law

Raychel Rutherford

Western Governors University

 Computer Science

Joette Setzer

University of Texas at Austin


Campbell Smith

Texas Woman’s University

Occupational Therapy

Jolie Stultz

Texas Christian University