Phoenix student earns associate degree before graduating high school

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A'Lira Underwood earned an associate degree while going to high school. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A'Lira Underwood earned an associate degree while going to high school. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Underwood will be going to USC in the fall. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Underwood will be going to USC in the fall. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Underwood said she had some late nights in order to get everything done. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Underwood said she had some late nights in order to get everything done. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A high school senior in Phoenix has already accomplished so much. Not only is she graduating from South Mountain High School in a couple of weeks, but she already has another diploma under her belt.

A'Lira Underwood said the summer before freshman year, she set a goal for herself. It was to earn an associate degree while going to high school. 

"September of 2013, I took the ACT," Underwood said. "I proceeded to enroll that November and I've been taking classes at Rio Salado ever since then."

She said it was worth the late nights to earn this degree before even getting her high school diploma.

"I think it was just the setting a goal and achieving it," Underwood said. 

But this honors student admits it hasn't been easy. 

"I also did sports so I would go to school, have my sports practices, and come up and stay up until 11:30 or 12 most nights," she said. 

Add mock trial and other extracurricular activities to the list, and it's a wonder how Underwood got any sleep at all. 

"I do music school on the weekends, so doing that, plus any tests or assignment I have due," she said.

The senior will also be attending college in the fall with a full ride.

"I'm going to USC in the fall and I'm going to major in psychology with a minor in music," she said. 

Her mom, Macara Underwood, said she is so proud of her daughter's accomplishment because she saw what a challenge it was. 

"I would remind her, this is something you wanted to, if you set a goal you should complete it, and she'd get right back in there," she said. "I'm just so excited and proud of her. I've watched her work very hard, I've seen a lot of tireless nights."

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