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Arizona girl to graduate high school at 15, attend ASU Barrett Honors College

It’ll be a new learning environment, new friends, and a new set of challenges for Vasko. But she wouldn’t trade her journey for anything.
Published: May. 22, 2022 at 7:46 PM MST
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Tempe, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - On Monday night, nearly 600 ASU Preparatory Academy students will collect their high school diplomas at Desert Financial Arena on Arizona State’s Tempe campus. Emily Vasko, one of those graduates, has a slightly different story than most. For one, she’s only 15 years old.

“It’s kind of crazy,” she said. “I feel kind of old, even if I’m not.” Maybe that’s because Vasko has been working towards making this a reality since she was in grade school. “Right around 8 or 9, I kind of was thinking, well, how fast can I get through this? How fast can I do this? Can I keep excelling? And I really started on the fast track path around ten years old.”

That path has included skipping sixth grade and finishing high school in three years. Vasko’s also only about a third of the way through her ten-year plan, which includes graduating from ASU Barrett Honors College in three years and graduating from medical school at the old age of 22.

“We just check in with her to make sure she still feels that way,” Vasko’s mother, Carolyn, said. “Probably at the end of every school year. And she’s just like, yep!” “Let’s give it a shot. You know, let’s try and see what happens,” Vasko’s father, Edward, added. “Because she’s young enough that she can make changes.”

One change Vasko’s already made? Deciding she wanted to do her undergrad at ASU.

“I kind of took it off the list and was not going to consider it at all,” Vasko said. “But then, I kind of looked into it more, and I was like, wow, they actually have a good program, and that sounds really interesting.”

Vasko plans on studying biological science and wants to become a cancer specialist eventually. After two years of online learning, she’s looking forward to the full college experience.

“I am able to stay in the dorms, so that’s very fun,” she said. “No classes on Fridays, so I’m really excited about that!”

It’ll be a new learning environment, new friends, and a new set of challenges for Vasko. But she wouldn’t trade her journey for anything. “I’m happy with where I am now,” she said. “And I’m happy that I did advance and make the decisions that I did.”