Five North Dakotans will graduate from high school and Lake Region State this month

All five students will be attending universities in North Dakota for the next steps in their education.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — Five North Dakota seniors will have a little extra to celebrate this May as they prepare to graduate from high school and college — in the same month.

Jaylen Anderson, of Leeds; McKenna Barnick, of Jamestown; Kaylee Kemp, of Cavalier; Casia Steinhaus, of Devils Lake; and Piper Suhr, of Cooperstown, all will graduate twice in May — receiving their associate degrees from Lake Region State College on May 12 and their high school diplomas at various dates this month.

“This is a record for Lake Region State College,” said LRSC President Dr. Doug Darling.

Last year, Lake Region had its first dual credit student walk across the stage and earn her associate degree while still in high school, the school said in a news release. To achieve this goal, students took online courses along with dual credit courses that were offered face-to-face at their high schools. Students also filled summers with additional courses to make it to the needed credit total.

But earning an associate degree while in high school isn’t easy and requires a fair amount of planning, according to Dan Driessen, assistant vice president of student affairs at LRSC and longtime director of the college’s dual credit program.


“Students and families need to have a healthy conversation about what the end goal is so that LRSC can build a map of the classes for each student,” he said. Support from the student’s high school administrators also helps a student succeed.

Students must qualify to take college courses in high school, Lake Region said. Students need to have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and they must meet the North Dakota University System placement score requirements for enrollment into math and English courses, the release said. The path and type of degree can vary, too, Driessen said.

Families should expect to spend about $10,000 to complete the associate degree while in high school, Lake Region said in the release. Though, earning credits while still at home can help families save on higher tuition costs, along with room and board expenses.

All five students will be attending universities in North Dakota for the next steps in their education.

Steinhaus will be attending UND and double majoring in physics and mathematics, with hopes of one day working at NASA or Lockheed Martin.

Anderson plans to attend Minot State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in radiologic technology. She hopes to work in a small North Dakota hospital taking X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, the release said.

Suhr will enter the accelerated pharmacy program at North Dakota State University next year and plans to obtain a medication assistant certification soon.

Barnick will be attending UND to major in biology for pre-medicine, with hopes to become a physician.


Kemp is set to go to the University of Mary in Bismarck and will enroll in the university’s accelerated nursing academy program.

Lake Region State College’s graduation ceremonies are at 10 a.m. Friday, May 12, in Robert Fawcett Auditorium.

Sydney Mook has been the managing editor at the Herald since April 2021. In her role she edits and assigns stories and helps reporters develop their work for readers.

Mook has been with the Herald since May 2018 and was first hired as the Herald's higher education reporter where she covered UND and other happenings in state higher education. She was later promoted to community editor in 2019.

For story pitches contact her at or call her at 701-780-1134.
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