Fairfield senior earns high school degree, college diploma simultaneously

As Fairfield High School senior Vincent Ariss walks on to the commencement stage later this month to accept his high school diploma, he will be doing so having already earned an associate degree from Sinclair Community College.

Ariss is part of a rare handful of high school graduates this spring who achieved graduation credits for their school and a tuition-free, two-year college degrees simultaneously.

Ariss, who last October also drew wide attention for his creation of a giant United States map on the playground surface of his old Fairfield elementary, earned his Sinclair Associate Degree in electrical-mechanical engineering technology entirely through online college courses.

And by doing so Ariss not only saved thousands of dollars, but two years of college study.

“I am now years ahead of most other high school students and even some college students and I am only graduating high-school,” said the young double graduate.

“Accomplishing this goal has absolutely changed my life,” he said.

“When I first joined the program, I didn’t think I would succeed at all. But grew and learned more than anything I have in my previous years of schooling and managed to complete all my high school classes and college level courses and get my associates degree and high school diploma,” said Ariss.

“On top of that I am not only graduating with a diploma, but it is an honors diploma as well.”

Fairfield School officials praised Ariss, noting he attends classes at Butler Tech and holds down a job Monday through Thursday working from after school until 10 p.m.

“I accomplished this through my program at Butler Tech in the Mechatronics program,” he said. “This particular lab has a degree program intertwined with it which allowed me to achieve an associate degree before stepping foot onto a college campus and paying any tuition.”

His mother, Angel Ariss, could not be prouder. Her son’s work ethic is an inspiration to others, she said.

“He is such an amazing child but remains completely grounded and humble,” she said.

“He has achieved his Eagle Scout, graduated high school with an Honors Diploma, competed with his robotics team in Pittsburgh and Alabama, volunteers every Sunday at church and earned an associate degree - all while working a job and going to school,” she said.

Vincent said he has decided to use his honors diploma and associate degree to enter the workforce after graduation.

He is still amazed that he’ll be able to do this “without ever paying a dime of tuition.” He will consider completing a bachelor’s degree if lands a job with tuition reimbursement benefits, “but right now, I’m hoping to jump straight into work with a company and grow from there,” he said.

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