Melbourne student graduates college before high school

Daniel Rittle

Daniel Rittle

MELBOURNE — All graduates look forward to the night when they will step forward and receive their high school diploma, but for Daniel C. Rittle, a senior at Melbourne High School, that special night will be his second graduation ceremony of the week.

Rittle handed out two invitations, wore two caps and gowns, took twice as many pictures, and accepted two diplomas. By having the opportunity to attend high school and college at the same time, Rittle received his associate of arts degree from Ozarka College six days prior to receiving his high school diploma as valedictorian of the 2014 graduating class of Melbourne High on Friday.

Rittle attributes his success to the accommodating relationship between Ozarka College and Melbourne High School.

“Both schools have worked closely to make it affordable and as easy as possible to accumulate college credit while still in high school,” says Rittle, who insists that any student can do as he has done. “I took two AP courses my junior year and two AP courses my senior year that functioned as concurrent credits as well as preparatory courses; none of that would have been possible without the cooperative agreement between Melbourne High School and Ozarka College.  

“For instance, my AP biology course in high school prepared me to face the rigor of Ozarka’s biology and lab class. I feel more rounded in that field as a result.”

Rittle plans to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering at Washington University in the fall.
Having accrued 25 of his college credits via web-based courseware, Rittle emphasized the convenience and financial ease of taking Ozarka’s online courses.

“It is possible for anyone to earn a high school and college degree back to back as long as that person is determined and devoted.  After all, as the quote goes, success is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration,” he said.

According to the provost and executive vice president of learning, Dr. Dennis C. Rittle, “Ozarka College is pleased to collaborate with our high school partners in assisting students to pursue their dreams. We enjoy the wonderful relationship we have with the faculty, staff and administrators of Melbourne School District and count it a privilege to work with them at every opportunity. The achievement of Daniel Rittle is another example of how educational partnerships can enhance and further the success of our students and enrich our communities.”

Rittle, who is the son of Dr. Dennis C. Rittle and Christy M. Rittle of Melbourne, is also the recipient of numerous academic awards. Washington University, located in St. Louis, Missouri, has awarded him its coveted Mesmer Scholarship as a result of his performance in both high school and college.