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Milwaukee teen finishes nursing degree before she graduates high school

Posted at 11:44 AM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 08:22:59-05

Finishing a nursing degree is a huge accomplishment.

Imunique Triplett from Milwaukee did just that, and she’s not even old enough to vote yet!

Putting on a cap and gown and walking across the stage for graduation is a huge accomplishment for any student, but Imunique, the moment was even more special. At just 17, she’s been pinned as a licensed practical nurse.

“It still feels unreal,” Imunique says.

She’s part of the first wave of students in the M3 program. It’s a partnership between MATC, Milwaukee Public Schools and UW-Milwaukee.

Imunique says the coursework is more than she initially planned to take on.

“I actually went into my high school freshman year thinking, ‘I’m not going to be able to maintain a GPA above a 3.0,'” she says.

James Sokolowski, MPS’ post-secondary engagement coordinator, helped guide Imunique through the program.

“We are trying to work together to build pipelines for students so that they really see the connection of what they’re doing in high school, how it can connect to college and their future careers,” Sokolowski says.

Essentially, teachers want students to see a clearer connection between their education and their futures. Imunique says that connection helped motivate her to do better in school.

“I started actually working towards something, working toward a career.”

Imunique has a huge head start in life. She already has a job at an area nursing facility. She has a degree with no student debt, which frees her up for other goals.

“If I want to buy a house, buy a new car – that doesn’t have two-wheel drive, because it is Wisconsin!” she says.

Thousands of high schoolers have gone through dual enrollment programs at MATC. But Erin Cherney, MATC’s manager of high school relations, says most students don’t finish a two year secondary degree before they graduate high school.

“When she said she was going to pass – tears. Just straight tears,” Cherney says. “Because of the hurdles she jumped through, because of the drive that she had. I know how hard it was, especially during a pandemic.”

Now, Imunique’s teachers are hoping she can be an inspiration to others. As far as role models go, you can hardly ask for better.

“I feel like it definitely should be an opportunity for other people to be able to take,” Imunique says. “They should really know about the program.”

Imunique hopes to become an RN, but her teachers are confident she could become a nurse practitioner, the highest level of nursing.

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