It was a weekend of “firsts” for Waxahachie Global High School.

On Saturday, 24 members of the first-ever Global High graduating class received their college degrees (nearly half of the graduating class) during Navarro College – Ellis County commencement.

The students, along with their fellow Class of 2011 graduates, will receive their high school diplomas Friday during Global High commencement at the WHS Fine Arts Center.

Waxahachie Global High began operations in the fall of 2007 as a STEM Academy with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math. As a public high school under the Waxahachie Independent School District, in 2009 the school received its charter as an Early College High School, allowing all qualifying students the opportunity to take dual-credit courses through Navarro College.

As Global High’s “first class,” the students only had two years of eligibility for dual-credit courses, meaning most of Saturday’s college graduates were carrying course loads of 12-19 college hours during their junior and senior years of high school.

Dr. Harold Nolte, president of Navarro College – Ellis County, honored the Global High grads during Saturday’s commencement, noting they were “the first of many more to come” under the Early College High School project that allows high school students the opportunity to get a jump on their higher education goals.

Several of the speakers noted how the class had “exceeded everyone’s expectations” on being able to earn their degree during their final two years of high school.

In fact, of the 24 Global college graduates, eight were honored with magna cum laude honors.

Global High’s first college graduates are:

Associate’s in arts degree: Kimberly Alejandre (magna cum laude); Edward James Barrera; Brianna Deer; Braian Jardines; Caitlyn Simone Phillips; Melanie Vazquez.

Associate’s in science degree: Alan Beard; Austin Blevins (magna cum laude); Briana Brown; Nathaniel Dillinger (magna cum laude); Dakota Franklin; Raymond D. Henderson; Stephen Jackson (magna cum laude); Guy Johnson; Summer Nicole King; Rey David Luna; Ryan McClendon; Nathan Miles; Loren Noelle Page (magna cum laude); Alexander C. Reisner (magna cum laude); Sarah Schuetz (magna cum laude); Blanca Villazara; Alexander White; and Martha Yepez (magna cum laude).

On Sunday, Global’s first graduating class held the school’s “first” baccalaureate program, following by the first senior awards banquet.

During the banquet, the Waxahachie Global High PTO awarded 15 scholarships totaling $10,000.