By Mira Radovich, Senior Contributing Writer
Newly-minted Mountain Ridge High School graduate and volleyballer Tegan Bernard is looking forward to his trek north this fall.
The Glendale native will attend Northern Arizona University to pursue a degree in management. What Bernard is especially excited about is starting his university career as a college junior.
Thanks to dual enrollment classes from Rio Salado College, Bernard earned his Associate in Arts degree in May (before his high school graduation!), allowing him to transfer two years’ worth of college credit.
“I took dual enrollment classes because I wanted to get ahead, and because my mom, who was a teacher, encouraged it,” Bernard said. “Once I got to around 30 credits, I decided to take on a little heavier workload and work toward my associate degree.”
That workload was impressive considering Bernard also participated in a junior indoor volleyball league, and extracurricular clubs Distributive Education Clubs of America and Future Business Leaders of America while also finding time to mentor other students.
When the pandemic hit, Bernard and two other students started Bridge to Ridge, a program to help middle school students bridge the transition to high school.
“We realized these kids were not only skeptical of what was to come, but they had genuine fears and anxieties,” Bernard said in an interview with Arizona Sports. “The Bridge to Ridge program was something to help them navigate the water, prepare them for what is coming and just ease their nerves.”
As an athlete used to taking to the court, Bernard is used to dealing with nerves. And if future high school students are nervous about dual enrollment classes, Bernard has some advice.
“I would say my best piece of advice is to make sure that the classes you are going to take will actually transfer to your degree,” Bernard said. “All in-state colleges will take the credit, but out-of-state colleges can be picky.”
“Another piece of advice would be just to try it and have no fears about a collegiate-level class,” Bernard said. “Push yourself farther and you will do just fine.”
Bernard plans to complete a master’s degree and then attend law school with a goal of becoming an attorney and opening his own law firm.
“Dual enrollment classes are a huge help in getting ahead,” Bernard said. “I will finish my bachelor's degree early, work on master’s degree quicker, and enter the job force even faster.”
For other students who want to get ahead, Bernard recommends Rio Salado College.
“Because of the overall flexibility, you can start almost any Monday during the semester, and the online classes are a blessing when working or with other events going on,” Bernard said. “The tuition is affordable and it pays off when you complete your program.”