The Class of ’17 — a group of North Texas students that KERA began following three years ago — is wrapping up its junior year. And it’s crunch time, which means these students are starting to make decisions about what will come after graduation.
For the next several weeks, we’re checking in with them.
For Joel Luera, an 11th grader who’s already started college, the decision to get ahead came early.
There’s no question Joel is a standout. He’s ranked No. 4 in his class at W.W. Samuell Early College High School in Dallas. He’s a champion debater. And he takes classes on a college campus.
But this school year hasn’t been easy.
“It’s been different,” he says. “One thing they kind of don’t tell you when you go to, I guess [a school] like here, is you still got to go through all the high school stuff. Like, you know, the quote-unquote ‘discovering yourself’ and all that.”
Joel spends his days at Eastfield College, a community college in Mesquite with 14,000 students. He’s one of more than 200 juniors and seniors there from Samuell’s early college program.