This May, a Carthage High School senior will be walking with not only her high school diploma, but her associate's degree as well.

This May, a Carthage High School senior will be walking with not only her high school diploma, but her associate's degree as well.
Sydney Stiles, 18, is a planner. Through her entire high school career, she has kept her focus on the future and she says she's excited for the next chapter of her "over-the-top" life.
"I get that high school is crazy, but this shows how different I am," she said with a laugh. "I may not be at the top of my class, but this puts Carthage High School somewhere above where it was. I thought it was awesome our school offered this, and yes, it was a lot of work but it's going to be worth it."
Through the Upward Bound program, dual credit courses and online classes through Crowder College, Missouri Southern State University and Ozark Technical College, Stiles is obtaining her general studies degree this May. The senior says now the plan is pursue her secondary education degree in speech/debate, minor in language arts and then a master's at the age of 22.
"Sydney is not the first or the only student of our's to pursue the associate's degree through Crowder, but as long as she gets everything done this semester, she will be our first to finish," said Matt Huntley, principal of CHS. "Carthage High School is proud of her. She’s had to make sacrifices to accomplish this feat. It’s taken a lot of dedication and perseverance to get through. We hope the AA helps jump-start her post-high school life and know that she will continue to do great things."
Stiles says one of her most important goals is to give back the program that enabled her achievement.
"I want to teach a new generation about dual credit, scholarships and why it's important," she said. "I hope to teach Upward Bound, and share about how it's really helped me. The Lord has blessed me, and I'm really excited with the opportunities coming my way."
Stiles "dabbled" in band, was an A+ teacher at Columbian Elementary School and is a member of National Honor Society. On top of high school and college-level workload, Stiles has made time for fun, too. She is involved in the Countryside Church of Jasper. But at the top of her leisure list, she has been involved in the theatre department all four years of high school, and will play a role in the upcoming spring play, "The Young and the Bold," April 13-14.
"It's been a whirlwind and difficult, but I have definitely learned perseverance," Stiles said. "I'm not going to lie, I made mistakes. It used to bother me that I wasn't number one, but I'm fine with where I'm at. I have done something really hard."
Stiles wished to thank some outstanding educators who have helped her through this journey: Matt Huntley, Mrs. Cunningham, Mitzi Harris (retired last year) Joyce Martin, Annette Jones and Mrs. Tubbs. Stiles mentioned she is the third generation in her family to have had Mrs. Tubbs, and it's been an extraordinary honor.
But, there were two more to thank ...
"It wouldn't be an article without mentioning these two," she said, pointing to her parents, Kip and Lisa Stiles. "They have always, always, always, always been there for me. We've had challenges, but that's what makes a family strong. My mom is amazing, and I would not be here at all without their support ... It's been the little things that have added up to be where I am now. Really, you won't find another set of parents as cool or as supportive."
Sydney's proud parents are Kip and Lisa Stiles. She is also the granddaughter of Chuck and Leann Cole, of Carthage and Gary and Sue Stiles, of Cassville.
"What she has done is no small feat," Kip said. "It is the result of sacrificing a month from her past three summer vacations to take college-level classes as well as participating in the program on a weekend of each month during the school year ... Personally, I believe Upward Bound needs to be celebrated because it allows the student to graduate with more than 60 college credits already completed. Instead of starting college as a freshman next fall, with four years ahead of her, my daughter, as well as many other students from schools in the surrounding area, is going to start as a junior with only two years to go to get her bachelor's degree. With the ever increasing costs of college tuition, I'm surprised people aren't screaming from the rooftops and demanding it for their own kids."
For more information about Upward Bound, please visit