A Degree Ahead

Kimberly Leiva-Sorto

Kimberly Leiva-Sorto

Class of 2023

Area of Study
Associate in Arts
Favorite Aspect of Wake Tech
Wake Tech gives you college experience as a high schooler.
Career Goals
Health care

"CCP has been such a rewarding opportunity, and I'm so thankful for the instructors and staff at my high school and Wake Tech for their support and guidance."

    — Kimberly Leiva-Sorto

Eighteen-year-old Kimberly Leiva-Sorto is a Wake Tech graduate. That’s right: she’s 18 years old!

Thanks to the college’s Career and College Promise (CCP) program, the South Garner High senior has earned an Associate in Arts degree and is already two years in on her bachelor’s degree.

Kimberly is one of 12 students this spring who achieved the major accomplishment of finishing an associate degree – tuition-free – at Wake Tech while attending high school. That’s a record number of CCP students who earned their two-year degree in a program whose enrollment has skyrocketed to about 2,400 students.

“CCP has been such a rewarding opportunity, and I’m so thankful for the instructors and staff at my high school and Wake Tech for their support and guidance,” Kimberly said. “It’s incredible that I’m going to receive my college degree a month before I graduate from high school.”

Kimberly learned about CCP from her Career Development Coordinator at South Garner High, when she was a freshman. Timothy Walker explained that she could earn credits toward a college degree, or possibly even earn an associate degree, through the program if she worked hard.

“I thought to myself that’s impossible and unattainable,” she said. “Little did I know I would be here four years later.”

CCP offers high school students the opportunity to explore more than 40 academic programs. Courses are tuition-free, saving them and their families money on college tuition while also lightening their future course load in college. Some CCP courses provide a jump-start to a career, with job training, skills and certifications.

Ever since she was in eighth grade, Kimberly has dreamed of attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This fall, she will! Kimberly believes the rigor of earning her associate degree as a high school student likely made her application stand out from the rest.

“It was difficult, but very rewarding,” she said. “I could have been doing other things with my time, but nothing else was as valuable to me as this.”

Kimberly said the CCP program reinforced the importance of strong time management and study skills, which she says will help her hit the ground running this fall at UNC. She’s still deciding her major but says she’s considering a career in healthcare, perhaps as a nurse, physician’s assistant, or physical therapist.

“CCP really gets you acclimated to what college is like, and I believe I now have a good understanding of how college works, and I’m thankful for that,” she said. “I also enjoyed being in classes with people of all ages and backgrounds, and it really opened my mind to how broad education is.”

Because CCP courses are tuition-free, Kimberly will save close to $10,000 in college tuition. She said she hopes other high school students will realize the value of the program and give it a try. 

“College is very expensive, and because I’ve completed two years of college, I’m looking at half the time of completing my bachelor’s degree and the opportunity to perhaps double major for the cost of one,” she said. “CCP really is one of the best opportunities to take advantage of in high school. I’m so thankful I did.”

Learn more about enrolling in Career and College Promise at ccp.waketech.edu.

Do you have a Wake Tech success story? Share it here.