Local High School Senior Earns Diploma and Associate Degree for Free, Setting Stage for Future Engineering Career

Jun 3, 2024

In 2022, Clay Walraven of Bodcaw, Arkansas, chose to enroll in the Secondary Career and Technical Education Center at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana. Clay said he decided to attend the UAHT Secondary Career Center because he was presented with the chance in his junior year of high school to take the free career center classes along with my regular high school classes, and he could not turn down the opportunity. “This was an excellent opportunity to get a feel for how college would be early on,” Walraven said. “After my junior year, I greatly enjoyed the classes at UAHT, and I was given the opportunity to take all college-level classes at UAHT during my senior year. I accepted the opportunity without hesitation, and in 2024, I graduated with my high school diploma and Associate of Applied Science Degree in Electromechanical Technology simultaneously.”

Clay said he greatly enjoyed his time at UAHT. He found that the campus was inviting, and all the staff and instructors were kind and helpful. “They were always willing to help and guide me where I needed to go if I ever had a question. The instructors always taught in a professional and efficient manner. They never wasted time and always taught me what I needed to know. All the instructors were knowledgeable in the subject matter and extremely familiar with all the tools and equipment. The small class sizes significantly increased my learning efficiency and helped ensure that all the students completed the class with the necessary knowledge and skills.”

According to Clay, the main reason he was able to take the classes and earn his degree early was due to the UAHT Secondary Career Center, which offers the courses free of charge, and the Nevada School District “Blue Jay University” program that helped him with other classes. “Without them, I would not have had this wonderful opportunity. These great programs help students get a head start in their college education and career.” Clay’s future goals are to attend Southern Arkansas University to pursue a master’s degree in engineering. “The courses I took at UAHT have helped me build a solid foundation for success at SAU and in my future career,” he said.

Walraven highly recommends UAHT to high school students and traditional college students. “UAHT is a great place to get started in your college career or train for a good job, whether you're just graduating high school or someone starting many years after high school. UAHT's early college high school programs and affordable tuition rates make it possible to earn a degree without stressing over the potential debt that can come with it. I would also recommend UAHT to others because of the small class sizes. This allows students to gain one-on-one instruction and helps ensure they achieve all the knowledge they need regarding the subject matter.”

For more information or to enroll in classes at the UAHT Secondary Career Center or traditional courses at UAHT, call 870-777-5722 or visit uaht.edu.