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Somers student pushes through health battles to graduate high school, community college simultaneously

Somers student Cortland Carbone pushed through health struggles, earning her associate's degree mere months after her high school graduation.
Credit: Asnuntuck Community College

ENFIELD, Conn. — A Somers high school student is celebrating her hard work after she earned both her high school diploma and an associate's degree within months of each other. 

Cortland Carbone, a graduate of CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering in Windsor, began her journey in her junior year. 

Asnuntuck Community College offered courses through its high school partnership program, which allows students financial affordability when it comes to college. 

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“Taking college courses during high school was incredibly appealing to me,” said Cortland. “Asnuntuck’s High School Partnership Program made college more financially accessible, as the program covered one free course per Fall and Spring term.”

The college said Carbone continued that drive and took additional courses and took more classes during the accelerated winter session and summer semester – all paid for out of pocket. 

Carbone wasn't only active in her studies but also in after-school curricular activities like tutoring middle-school students, part of the National Honor Society, and being a trained peer mediator. Cortland's list of accomplishments is a long list and one that impressed her advisors. 

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“Rarely have I encountered a student as capable and motivated as Cortland, but what set her apart was her willingness to engage in our learning community.” Dr. Heather D'Orlando with Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society at Asnuntuck explained, “She infused her compassion and optimism into each course, each student activity, that she participated in. We are all fortunate that as a future psychologist, Cortland will apply such skills to the service of children and families.”

Carbone also fought through struggles due to COVID-19, commenting on her own health battles and her high-risk status for contracting COVID-19. 

“Since an infant, I’ve addressed health issues related to congenital heart defects," Carbone explained. "As a result, I was in the high-risk category for contracting COVID-19. During my time at Asnuntuck, I experienced complications that required hospitalization and ultimately two separate surgeries. Prior to surgery, I was experiencing a very high level of fatigue, dizziness, arrhythmias, and other related symptoms. After in-hospital testing, my cardiologist was able to diagnose the reasons for the symptoms, and surgery was required. In my desire to complete my program on time, I did my best to work around my symptoms to maintain my program of study.”

Carbone chose the CSCU Pathway Transfer Degree: Psychology Studies A.A. and will be receiving an A.A. in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Psychology this coming May. She has plans to transfer to a four-year school in the fall.

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Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jglatz@fox61.com.  

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