Jax Dunn, 17, of East Hartford, has not yet started her senior year in high school, but she is already more than halfway done with getting her associate’s degree in criminal justice.
In middle school, she had learned about Great Path Academy, a school located on the Manchester Community College campus. Dunn said she learned about students graduating from high school with their associate’s degrees and decided that was something she wanted to pursue.
Dunn has been a straight-A student through high school and recently found out that she is in the top 10% of her college. She has also been invited to join the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She could not believe that the society asked her to join.
“It was really weird to find out,” Dunn said. “I am 17, and I take two classes here. Did you all get your numbers right?”
Dunn has been taking college-level classes since her sophomore year. She has taken American Sign Language, sociology and various humanities and writing courses. However, her favorite class is English 101. In the class, Dunn had to write an essay on the book Blackbird.
“Before Phi Theta Kappa, this was the highlight of my academic career,” she said. “This [teacher] made it very clear that she gave a 98 only twice in her teaching career, and I got a 98 on my essay which I was very proud of.”
In her spare time, Dunn enjoys playing cello or making art. During quarantine, she decided to paint a mural on a wall in her bedroom.
Her mother, Christine, is a cafeteria worker, and her father, Robert, works at the store Cabela’s.
After graduating from high school, Dunn plans to finish her associate’s degree before working towards her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She hopes to study in New York at either Iona College or Marymount Manhattan College.
After finishing her studies, Dunn plans on going into the Forensic Interviewing field. A forensics interviewer mainly works with minors to try and gather facts about a traumatizing event they were part of or witnessed.
Sidhi Dhanda is a student at Hopkinton High School, Hopkinton, Mass.