For some, college is like a pressure cooker, especially when those last-minute papers and projects are due.
Not so for Sussex County Community College (SCCC) graduate Matthew Danielson of Andover. He not only graduated from SCCC this May with an associate in science degree in business administration, but on June 18 he also graduated high school from Sussex County Technical School.
“I felt some pressure,” he admitted. “Pressure does not deter me, but rather inspires me to push forward and motivates and drives me to reach my goals.”
Danielson took three college classes through his high school shop, ECOMMERCE, for the last two years and three college-level courses taught by Sussex County Technical School staff each semester, including summer courses through SCCC. All courses through SCCC were remote due to Covid.
“My double graduation is something I am very proud of,” said Danielson. “There was some disappointment as I was not afforded the opportunity of partaking in on-campus classes.”
That would have been nice, but in any case he was not going to be sidetracked..
“My goal was to graduate with my associate degree prior to my high school graduation,” he said. “I kept on track by completing several summer courses.” However, he added, “the Jump Start program afforded this opportunity not only for the educational value but the substantial savings on tuition.”
By taking college courses during high school, his family saved thousands of dollars in tuition and fees.
Danielson had the full support of his parents, which helped a lot.
“My parents were very inspirational in keeping me motivated and were always supportive,” he said. “They never once told me I was taking on too much. They thought it was very inspirational for others to see that anything is obtainable when you set your mind on something. My friends thought I was a little crazy for doing this as my free time was taken up due to Zoom classes and college work. But the end result is something I would not change.”
His high school counselor, Bina Varkey, was not surprised that Danielson reached his double graduation goal.
“Matt committed himself to his academics, which is demonstrated in his earning both a high school diploma with a 3.9 GPA and an associate degree simultaneously,” said Varkey, also a co-advisor with Sussex County Technical School’s National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society. “In addition, Matt was an active member of both NHS and NTHS. And Matt’s community service plays an integral role in his life, which speaks to his strength of character. He is a leader who constantly exceeded my expectations.”
In addition, Danielson is a certified firefighter with the Andover Township Fire Department after successfully completing the accelerated program at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy. He was ranked #11 in the NJSIAA for his bowling accomplishments in 2020, and was a member of the school’s bowling team (four years), the last two years as captain.
This fall, Danielson will transfer his 60 credits into a bachelor’s degree program at Centenary University. He also earned a full academic scholarship through a Founders Scholarship. His future plans are to pursue his master’s degree in accounting.
Where some people wither when the pressure hits, Danielson thrives.
“My friends thought I was a little crazy for doing this as my free time was taken up due to Zoom classes and college work. But the end result is something I would not change.” Matthew Danielson