Meet 18 Year Old Raven Osborne Graduated From Purdue University Northwest Two Weeks Before Her High School Graduation

18-Year-old Raven Osborne just graduated from Purdue University Northwest and is set to graduate from her high school, 21st Century Charter school in Gary, Indiana, a free public school in a city with a high dropout rate, in two weeks.

“She’s a ceiling-breaker, a mold-buster, an incredibly disciplined young lady,” Kevin Teasley, CEO of the GEO Foundation, which operates 21st Century, tells PEOPLE. “The world is her oyster now.”

So How Did She Do It?

The 21 Century Charter school requires students to take at least one career-certificate or college class, and provides the transportation, textbooks and tuition to do so. That’s right the school pays the students tuition.

Ms. Osborne was worried about college debt from an early age, Osborne decided to take as many college classes as she could while the costs were covered, she tells PEOPLE. The summer after eighth grade, even before her freshman year of high school had begun, she enrolled in her first college class.

“I was just thinking I didn’t want to waste any time,” she says.

For the next four years — as she was taking English, geometry, history and other typical high school courses — she simultaneously took college classes online, over summers and at a community college before enrolling at Purdue University Northwest in nearby Hammond.

“Maybe I didn’t do as much as my classmates have done, but I don’t feel like I sacrificed that much and I don’t have any college debt and that is amazing,” she says.

Even after she graduates, Osborne won’t be going too far from the high school. Already an intern working with second graders at 21st Century, she’ll return to the place where she once qualified for a free lunch to work as a reading intervention specialist earning a $38,000-a-year teaching salary.

And with a minor in early childhood education, Osborne is planning to earn her teaching certificate and wants to become a teacher.

“I hope it sends a message,” she says of her accomplishments. “I think it can teach students that college is something they can attain. The conditions of a city don’t define its people.” Read full article at People.com

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