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It has been two years since Ruben Cid has taken a class at Grant County High School.
Yet, the 18-year-old Dry Ridge resident will walk side-by-side the class of 2009 during graduation to receive his high school diploma.
Cid spent his junior and senior years at Western Kentucky University as the first local student selected to the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science.
“I am looking forward to graduation,” he said. “It gives me an opportunity to see some of my friends again and have the experience of walking with a normal high school, an opportunity some students lost by coming here to the Academy.”
The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s only state-supported, residential program for high school students with interests in science and math careers and one of 15 such programs in the nation.
Students finish their last two years of high school living on campus and taking courses offered by WKU.
At the end of two years, they are high school graduates who have earned at least 60 college credit hours.
After being selected for the Academy, Cid said he was initially more nervous than excited.
“I knew I was going to be an interesting experience no matter what, but I was more worried about what
kind of experience it would turn out to be,” he said.
Now that it is over, Cid said he was impressed with how thought out the program was and how beneficial it will be for his future.
“I do feel that some of the professors I have had have taught me many lessons about life unintentionally,” he said. “Hard work really pays off in the long run.”
“I feel that the education I got here was priceless,” Cid said. “I really wish I could do it all over again, mostly for my GPA’s sake, but mainly because it was an interesting experience to come to class every day and learnsomething different every day.”
Cid admits that there were some struggles during the past two years.
It was difficult adjusting to how to study for the workload of the Academy.
As an introvert, Cid said it was also hard for him to make new friends at first.
Eventually, he said he was able to make some great friendships.
“The people you meet here are a lot of unique individuals with different styles of thinking, many of which don’t mind an informal debate or discussion about just about any topic,” Cid said. “The topics can vary from
gossip or games all the way to religion, politics and current events.”
Whenever he returned home to Grant County, Cid would try to hang out with his old high school friends, but opportunities were few and far between.
He still kept up with them through MySpace and Facebook.
“Sure, I miss hanging out with all my friends everyday,” Cid said. “I also miss having easy classes and never having to study, but this experience has been worth it.”
Besides giving him the knowledge that he never wants to take another 8 a.m. class, the Academy also has given Cid a jump start on college.
He plans on going to the University of Louisville’s Speed School of Engineering with the goal of earning his masters degree in Engineering in five years.
While he was the first, Cid is not the only Grant County student at the Gatton Academy.
Madison Liford is in the class of 2010 and Courtney Vance recently was chosen from Williamstown Senior High to attend next year.
Cid, who said the Academy surpassed all of his expectations, has advice for future members.
“Go for it,” he said. “You don’t know until you try. Sure it is tough at times, but the benefits from going are really worth it. It truly is a unique experience.”