BAY VILLAGE, Ohio — Olivia Konschak just graduated from Bay High School. She also earned an associate’s degree from Cuyahoga County Community College (Tri-C) at the same time.
She has the distinction of being Bay High School’s only 2022 senior to achieve the dual honors.
In addition, she graduated from Bay summa cum laude (earning a 3.9 to 4.0 grade point average) and at Tri-C, she graduated magna cum laude (a 3.7 to 3.8 GPA). She was also inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the international collegiate honor society, (at least a 3.5 GPA required).
It all began with Olivia’s involvement with Bay High School’s College Credit Plus (CCP) program. High school CCP students can earn high school and college credits at the same time toward their higher education degrees.
“One hundred percent of my high school credits are being honored at Baldwin Wallace (University),” said Olivia, which is where she wants to complete a four-year degree. But she cautions students to always check with the college of their choice to make sure.
“Sometimes there are limits on what they accept. You need to look into the rules.”
What is difficult about handling both high school and college at the same time? “You need to be self-directed and manage your time well,” she said.
Olivia plans to continue her college education full time at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea beginning Aug. 22. She wants to earn a bachelor of science degree in exercise science.
“I wanted to be a teacher for the longest time,” she said. “But as I got older, I was first looking to be a police officer, then steered away from it due to my small size. Then I started lifting weights and exercising, and that led to looking into exercise degrees and nutrition, which is really what I love.”
Olivia is also certain about her plans after her graduation from Baldwin Wallace — projected to be in 2024.
“I plan to continue my education by working towards a master’s degree in dietetics to become a registered dietitian to lead meaningful change in the health of the community and to advocate for promoting personal wellness,” she said.
Can any parent’s student achieve what Oliva has? Laura Konschak, Olivia’s mother, said, “Olivia’s gifts and energy help make her the incredible young lady she is, and by recognizing how she thrives in learning she was able to build her own unique, nontraditional way to ‘do’ school that supported her challenges and attributes and enabled her to thrive to make some great personal and academic achievements.”
Laura noted that there are indications that a student could take the same path as Olivia.
“As parents, it’s our job to be our child’s advocate,” she said, “to create their own unique learning environment and program to properly suit their gifts and needs to enable them to live their best life that supports their happiness.
“It’s critical for parents to recognize and seek out solutions if their child is struggling and to meet both their academic and social/emotional needs instead of pushing them to forcibly fit within a traditional education.
“We are just so passionate about sharing our collective experiences as a student and parents and recognizing the importance of the value of setting up the best educational environment for each student to live their best life that truly brings them happiness.”
As a former educational aide for the Bay Village City School District, Laura said, “Our hearts go out to families that are currently in a lonely spot where they don’t know where to turn if they are blessed with an incredible child at home that may have high energy, sensitivities, differing academic or social emotional abilities or that just struggles in a traditional education where their needs aren’t being met in order to properly thrive as a student.”
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