GLEN ROSE – For Mallory Daniels, the Glen Rose High School Class of 2016 valedictorian, the best way to avoid being bitten by the senioritis bug is to avoid senior year altogether – sort of.

Daniels turned 17 years old on May 13, just nine days after she learned of her No. 1 class ranking, and will have an associate’s degree in hand from Hill College by Aug. 11. This is of course coming after one-full year as a freshman, one semester as a sophomore, another semester as a junior and the last year as an underage senior.

“I spent three years in high school and it was long enough,” Daniels said. “I like academic challenges and don’t like to waste time. I’m going to be attending the University of Texas at Austin, but, before I attend UT-Austin this fall, I’ll be taking four college classes this summer to finish my associates degree.”

Daniels, who plans to obtain a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and currently works at Best Value Pharmacy in Glen Rose, said she “only” has her first degree planned out as of now.

“I’m trying not to plan too much into the future because I am really excited to go to college,” the senior explained. “I’m ready for that transition, change and more independence. I only have my undergrad figured out, because I want to allow for internships and things like that to fall into place. I am just excited for what is to come in the future.

“I’m really interested in reforming America’s health care policy and those sorts of things. So I’ll do my BSN, […] but I do plan to pursue doctorate-level education eventually.”

In 2013, a USA TODAY article written by Kimberly Railey referenced a 2004 study conducted by the National Center for Educational Statistics that found approximately 3 percent of high school students graduate early. Since the study, some school districts such as Dallas ISD, which is the second largest in Texas, have begun programs to aid those who wish to cram their four years of high school into three, the article states.

Even though for most the decision to graduate early comes after their first year of high school, Daniels said her mind was made up prior to eighth grade graduation. She also credits GRHS guidance counselor Candy McClure with helping her through the process.

“It was a goal that I wanted and I don’t regret it at all,” Daniels said. “I am very happy that I am finishing in three years. […] She really motivated me and inspired me these last three years, and has helped me with anything that I have asked her to. She has been my favorite person in the high school.

“There is a quote by Henry Rollins and it is my favorite quote ever. He said ‘There is spare time. There is no such thing as free time. And there is no such thing as downtime. You only have lifetime. Go.’”

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Travis M. Smith

@travis5mith

(254) 897-2282