Bergman student graduates from college before high school

Bergman student graduates from college before high school

Thu Dec 15, 2022 at 07:49 AM

Noah KlepperBergman senior Charles Noah Cuevas-Klepper (Noah) made history recently by becoming the first student in the 48-year history of North Arkansas College (Northark) to earn an Associates of Arts degree a full semester before he graduates from high school next spring. 

Administrators from Bergman and Northark teamed up to hold a special commencement ceremony for Noah attended by Bergman teachers and students, representatives from Northark and Noah’s family.

“Noah has spent countless hours outside of Bergman school to accomplish this,” said Amy Curtis, Bergman principal. “We applaud his extraordinary effort to accomplish this and we congratulate him on this prestigious achievement. Noah, we look forward to your bright future and the impact you will have on our world.”

“You are an inspiration. I am in awe of your accomplishment,” Northark’s President Rick Massengale told Noah during his remarks. “I salute you.”

Noah enrolled in Northark’s concurrent credit classes during his sophomore year. Concurrent credit classes allow students to earn college and high school credit at the same time at very little cost to the student. A new Northark kickstart program recognizes students as they progress further toward their degree. 

College President Rick Massengale noted the significant savings students realize by enrolling in concurrent classes. “If you wait until after graduation to attend a college to the west who has a pig mascot, this degree will cost you $19K. If you go to the south where I came from in Russellville, this degree will cost you $26K. Noah’s parents and Bergman paid $2,100 for this degree. That is a savings of $17K. Noah, that’s enough to get you a new car!”

Noah’s mother, a Northark RN graduate told him about concurrent classes. “What first prompted me to take concurrent credit was at first just to seek a higher form of learning,” Noah said. “Then I learned that I could get an associate degree when I graduate high school, saving a lot of time for me in the future. I enjoyed the affordability, the easy access, and the experience. I loved learning about many different subjects.”

An accomplished student, Noah juggles many activities balancing them with his studies. He attended Arkansas Boy’s State, Arkansas Governor’s School and received the Arkansas state seal of Biliteracy for Spanish. He is a member of the National Honor Society, the National Society for High School Scholars and Phi Theta Kappa. Music is his passion. “I write/compose, transcribe, and transpose music when needed. I make beats on occasion,” Noah says. “When I am not working, studying or messing with music in some way, I am probably sleeping.” He also plays baseball and esports and plays the Saxophone in the Bergman High School band. Noah recently started a student led Jazz Band for Bergman.

His journey was not always an easy one. Noah hit a roadblock in the pathway to his degree. “There were many challenges I faced. One major challenge happened during my junior year. I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen, and I was admitted to the hospital. The only way to stop the pain and find out what was wrong was to perform a splenectomy. This is the complete removal of the spleen.” It took Noah months to recover and he missed countless days of high school. He said, “At the time I had eight NAC classes, four AP classes and seven high school classes.” Noah attended high school from 7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Northark classes began at 4:00 pm. Noah often studied until 3 am in the morning.

Time was a sacrifice he was willing to make. “I overcame my shortcomings with time and support from the faculty at Bergman and NAC. My family and friends also played an extremely great role in my recovery. I am fine now though I have a half foot scar to make up for it.”

During his speech Noah thanked everyone that supported him along the way including his family. “What now? What is there more for me to do?” Noah said. “My path at Bergman and Northark has introduced me to my future. I realized and learned so much. I am indebted to both institutions.”

Noah plans to continue his education pursuing a career in the STEM field.

North Arkansas College is committed to providing an educational and work environment for its students, faculty, and staff that is free from sexual discrimination including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence. No form of sexual discrimination will be tolerated. See the full North Arkansas College Title IX Policy and Procedures for the specific definitions of sexual harassment and sexual violence, including examples of such conduct.