DEKALB, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – A high school senior in Bowie County will be the first in her district to graduate with a diploma and an Associate’s Degree.
DeKalb High School Senior Kyla Barnes, a student-athlete, has dedicated the last two years towards getting an Associate of Arts from Texarkana College.
“As soon as I’m done in about five years. That’s probably when I’ll take my break,” said Kyla.
Kyla’s achievements do not end there. Upon graduation, she plans to get her bachelor’s degree in one year and move on to her four-year doctoral program.
The outstanding senior says seeing her grandparents suffer from cancer persuaded her to go after her dream of becoming a pharmacist.
“Many of my grandparents have had cancer at one point in time – uh chemo. Watching people go through that is really hard. Especially when it’s somebody that you really care about. It helped me determine that that’s what I wanted to dedicate my life to,” said Kyla.
Kyla says she sacrificed a lot of her free time outside of school. She says it’s better to give up time now rather than later.
“It would be easier to get a job. If you’re in a good job when you’re younger it gives you more time to build a foundation for yourself such as retirement or a family,” said Kyla.
With no college campus nearby, Kyla’s mom, Kim Barnes, says taking online classes during the school year and five to six courses during the summer was cheaper.
It also allowed her daughter to be one of 34 students in the history of Texarkana College to complete the dual program.
“Her taking advantage of that makes the reason that she is the first. I’m very proud of her. I’ve laughed with her. I’ve cried with her,” said Kim.
As Kyla gets ready to walk across the stage, she has one last message for her peers.
“I do believe that other kids around here can do the same. And I hope that they use this as an example that they can set the same goals for themselves and get to where they need to be,” said Kim.