FRESNO, California (KGPE) – In two weeks, Brianna Jaylene Gutierrez will graduate from Washington Union High School already having graduated from Reedley College, just last week, with an associate degree.
“It is something that obviously is new to us to have someone with an Associate’s degree right when they get that high school diploma. Brianna, I knew, the moment I met her, that she was very special,” said Steve Rizzo, the CTE Director at Washington Union High School.
The summer before starting high school, Gutierrez learned about the Wonderful Agriculture Career Prep program — a challenging curriculum consisting of 60 college level units blended into high school courses.
“I had actually walked into the school cafeteria not knowing anything about it, but probably just wanting to do it and my sister telling me this might be a little too much, but I actually told her, watch me do it,” said Gutierrez.
That was four years ago and soon the 17-year-old will hold both a college and high school degree also graduating as valedictorian of her class of around 250 students with a 4.38 GPA, but Gutierrez says she wasn’t always the best student.
“I really didn’t think I was able to do that, I was more like a 1.5 average student.”
She says making it through tough times inspired her to reach for the brass ring.
“Although I did have hardships when I was little, that really motivated me. I just really turned towards my education so that I can do better and when I did find that focal point, I knew that I was able to do more than what I thought I could.”
Gutierrez received a full ride to Fresno Pacific University and plans to obtain her Bachelor of Science there in pre-physical therapy.