BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Imagine graduating from high school with your college degree already in your hand. A group of kids at GEO Next Generation High School did just that.

Six of nine Baton Rouge seniors earned full associate degrees while in high school. Two earned welding certifications and one earned a certificate in general studies. 

“It’s not like I just woke up and got here today. It took a lot of work, it took a lot of self-discipline, and time management to get here,” said Quintasia McCcray, who earned an associate in social sciences and a full-ride scholarship to Xavier University.

According to the Department of Education, only 159 high school students in the entire state earned associate degrees while in high school in 2019.

In addition to earning associate degrees, these students earned scholarships to Xavier, LSU, Southern and the University of Louisiana. Collectively, the graduating class as a whole earned $1.5 million in scholarships. 

“They’ll be saving two years of time, they’ll be saving over $50,000 in college costs as well. We pay for all of the costs, the students earn the credits,” said Kevin Teasley, founder of GEO Academics.

In McCcray’s case, 76 credits made her class valedictorian and helped her take steps toward a future in orthopedic surgery. These dreamers are going places. Brandy Dunbar is taking her certification in general studies to the classroom in hopes of being a light to children with special needs. With a niece with autism, this is personal. 

“I just want people to have some patience for people who are not like us ’cause I’m a smart individual and people look up to me and I have kids that see a leader in me, and I want people to look at her the same way,” said Dunbar.

GEO Next Generation High School opened its doors four years ago with the goal of providing students in underserved communities with college degrees. Dunbar is a product of that mission. 

“I don’t know why but for some reason, I never saw myself graduating college, it was just something I thought just wasn’t for me because I’m just one of those kids who just dread going to school but it’s helped me tremendously because now I can go into a university and only have two years left, it’s not that much to go so I’m going to just go ahead and do it,” said Dunbar.

Five of the six associate degree earners are first-generation college-going students. First-generation graduate Skylar Walker said he knows he’s made his family proud.

To nominate a Standout Student visit: Nominate a Standout Student |