Asheville Early College student finishes 2-year degree before she graduates high school

Photo: WLOS staff

High school seniors across Buncombe County are graduating next month--but there's one special student who will get her degree this Saturday.

"'I'm pretty excited I'm ready to be up and out, and go into the world," said Marley Kunst of Asheville.

Marley is a senior excited for graduation.

"I just had the doors wide open for me, so I'm trying to decide where I want to go after this," she said.

She has been working hard all year at Nesbitt Discovery Academy, and on Saturday she'll walk across the stage to get her diploma.

But not from her high school.

Marley is graduating from A-B Tech with an associates degree, even before she graduates from Nesbitt.

"People have been asking me, are you ready for this Saturday, because its my A-B Tech graduation. And I'm like, what's this Saturday?"

She's part of the Buncombe County Early College Program, and is in the first class of graduating seniors from the Martin L. Nesbitt Discovery Academy in Asheville.

She's the first one graduating college before high school.

Her mother is beyond proud of her determination over the years.

"She sees it, she goes for it,"said Cindy Kunst.

"I said this is your ticket, kid, this is it. This is free college. That's a huge gift that the county is giving anyone who works for it," Kunst added.

During her high school years, Marley obtained 60 college credits. She took computer programming and classes that focused on diversity.

All of this while working two jobs.

"I'm a workaholic," Marley told us. "I feel like I always have to do something. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and you can't give up at all."

Her father, Cass, says the emotions are overwhelming..

"I'm trying to hold it in now," the proud dad told us.

But he'll try to keep it together for his little girl.

Marley graduates high school next month.

She plans to take off some time before working on her bachelors' degree.

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