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Student graduates from Lakeview, YSU

Submitted photo Abbie Campana, 17, holds up her two diplomas — an associate degree from Youngstown State University and a diploma from Lakeview High School — during her graduation from Lakeview May 22.

CORTLAND — Just about every student graduates high school before college, but not Abbie Campana — she did it backwards.

Campana, 17, of Cortland, graduated with honors from Youngstown State University with an associate degree in business administration on May 7 — two weeks before she graduated as valedictorian from Lakeview High School.

“It’s surreal. It was crazy to have two diplomas in my hand at Lakeview’s graduation,” Campana said.

She was the first student at Lakeview to graduate with a high school and college diploma, according to a school district Facebook post celebrating her achievement.

Campana started out taking a few online college credits her sophomore year of high school — intro to sociology, intro to psychology and American government — then sat down with her parents and mapped out the trajectory of her education from there. Soon, she realized she could get a degree.

Despite having two older sisters, Kaetlin and Emily, who are or are about to be registered nurses, Campana said she knew she didn’t want to go into the medical field. Business, though, sparked her interest, she said.

This fall, Campana will walk onto Bowling Green University’s Campus with the standing of a junior thanks to her transfer credits. If she plays her cards right, she will have a bachelor’s degree in three semesters at the age of 19.

She plans to study supply-chain management.

“I think it’s interesting to look at the flow of how goods get from the raw material to the finished consumer product,” Campana said. She added, with a laugh, “It’s something that is lacking right now.”

Campana picked Bowling Green for the next chapter in her education because it’s “very much a college town” and just far enough away from home. She isn’t nervous about going away to college because she’s essentially already done it — for half of her junior year and all of her senior year of high school, she was attending YSU full time, with all of her classes on campus, to earn 80 credit hours.

Her college professors didn’t know she was in high school unless she told them, she said. She did tell instructor Michelle Green due to an age restriction in Green’s class — and that sparked a mentorship that Campana said she always will remember.

“She just kind of took me under her wing,” Campana said. “It was great because I sent her a thank-you email, and we’re still in contact … I could always come back and reach out as I go through life.”

While completing her associate degree, Campana continued to play softball and stay involved at Lakeview. She was a member of National Honor Society and in Beta Club — both focused on community service — and was on the Junior Executive Committee her junior year. An avid snowboarder, Campana also was in ski club.

Campana went back to high school for pep rallies and basketball and football games, she said. She didn’t walk at YSU’s graduation because she wanted to go to Lakeview’s prom instead.

Bouncing back and forth, Campana said she retained her high school friends and also made new friends at college.

“In college, it’s really easy to make friends. You sit next to someone and the next day you guys are like already best friends,” Campana said.

In addition to her two older sisters, Campana has a younger brother, Jason, who will be a sophomore at Lakeview next year. Her mother, Angela, is a teacher in another school district and a member of the Lakeview school board, and her father is a heavy equipment operator, she said.

Campana looks forward to taking the summer off and relaxing after a very, very busy school year. Then, she wants to take off running and start doing internships while she finishes her studies.

As for going to college while in high school, Campana encourages anyone who is considering it to give it a try.

“I would say do it. It was great and you could always return to high school if you don’t like it,” Campana said.

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