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Turlock senior to graduate high school with three AA degrees

Hayden Elliott says his goal is to return to his hometown to be an officer with the Turlock Police Department.

TURLOCK, Calif. — At 18 years old, Hayden Elliott is no stranger to caps and gowns.

“I already graduated from Merced Junior College (with) an associate degree, an Associate of Science for Psychology — that was my third degree," said Elliott. "I already have the Associate of Science for Administration of Criminal Justice as well as Associate of Arts for Social Behavioral Science.”

When the Turlock High School senior crosses the stage again on June 2, this time he will be getting a high school diploma.

During his freshman year, when Elliott started dual enrollment at Modesto Junior College, earning three associate degrees before graduating high school wasn’t on his mind.

“I just wanted the one to get it done with but then we realized, 'Hey, this associate degree only takes a couple more classes,'" said Elliott. "We realized if I kept on going, I could just skip two years, get my bachelor's, and achieve my ultimate goal of becoming a police officer at 21.”

With three associate degrees in hand and a high school diploma incoming, Elliot is eager to start working on his bachelor's degree at UC Merced in the fall, but his achievements aren't tied to just the classroom.

He has also taken on roles with Turlock High's Navy Junior Officer Training Corps program, the air rifle team, the orienteering team, the academic team, the varsity tennis team and the Turlock Police Department's explorer program.

His goal is to eventually return to the Turlock Police Department as an officer.

"I often work myself as much as I can, just being busy and on task as fast and direct as I can," said Elliott. "Usually, teachers will find me in class at high school, just doing other assignments while in the middle of the class, or just finishing early and pulling out my Chromebook and start doing (other assignments) immediately."

As far as advice for other students, Elliott's message is simple.

“Have a clear and cut plan and stick to it as much as possible," said Elliott. "Do what you can, not what you have to.”

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