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CLASS ACT: Kyla Barnes, DeKalb High School and Texarkana College

ArkLaTex student graduates with high school diploma, associated degree within 4 years
Kyla Barnes graduated with both a high school diploma and an Associate's degree on Friday, May...
Kyla Barnes graduated with both a high school diploma and an Associate's degree on Friday, May 28.(Kim Barnes)
Updated: May. 30, 2021 at 10:59 PM CDT
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DeKALB, Texas (KSLA) — When Kyla Barnes walked across the stage Friday, May 28, she received not one but two degrees.

“I cut off three or four years of my schooling just in this last couple years in high school.”

Barnes pored over online courses and even night classes to earn her high school diploma from DeKalb High School in DeKalb, Texas, and an associate degree in arts with a concentration in general studies from Texarkana College in Texarkana, Texas.

“(My parents) kept telling me how much this was going to be worth it, and even though right now it seems like a lot of work, that in the end it would pay off,” Barnes recalled.

“It was a lot of work and a lot of stress. But even now, I’m starting to see the rewards.”

Barnes plans to tackle her next educational challenges at Texas Tech University in the fall. And she aspires to be an oncology pharmacist someday.

“Most of my family has had cancer. Both of my grandparents died from it, a year apart, from the same type of cancer,” she explained.

“Watching them when I was growing up and watching them go through chemo, deteriorate slowly and not have as much energy as everybody else, it was really sad. I don’t think people deserve to go through that.”

Kids, in particular, are her passion. Her ultimate goal is to work for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

Barnes underwent surgery for the heart condition supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) In November 2019.

“I honestly believe that is why she ended up choosing a major that involved a children’s hospital,” said her mother, Kim Barnes.

Thanks to her determination and dedication, Kyla Barnes said she plans to graduate with a doctorate degree within the next five years.

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