Local 15-year-old earns college degree before graduating high school

MIDDLESEX COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Middlesex County teenager is graduating this weekend with her Associate’s Degree. This is all before she’s even graduated from high school.

She’s only 15, but she has her sights set on Medical School.

“I really want to become a neurosurgeon,” Zakara Blanding said.

Zakara Blanding finished four years of high school and her first two years of college, all in two years.

“Two years of high school two years of college,” she added.

Zakara took advantage of dual enrollment classes at her high school and night class at Rappahannock Community College.

Her mom, Princess Blanding, said it all started when they tried to plan for her to graduate from high school a year early.

“Once she looked at the plan she said ‘ma I think I can do this in two years,” P. Blanding said.

P. Blanding said at times she worried about the school work being too much, but Zakara wouldn’t quit.

“She kept on pushing,” P. Blanding said. “So we are at that finishing point. She took her final exam for her last class for college on Monday so we are done and Friday is the big day.”

Zakara originally had her sights on Harvard or UCLA, but at just 15, her mom is glad she decided staying in-state and going to the University of Virginia.

“I’m just so excited to go to college now,” Zakara said. “I just can’t wait to get closer to learning about medicine and working with patients and people.”

Zakara said when she goes to medical school she wants to find a way to reverse brain death.

But for now, she’s just looking forward to getting some sleep before starting college in the fall.

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