In a crowd of more than 600 graduates, four students from Heritage Academy recently celebrated their commencement from Central Arizona College on May 12. 

Maleiya Gaddy poses in her graduation cap and gown at the CAC commencement ceremony on May 12. [submitted]
Among them was Maleiya Gaddy, who received her Associates of Arts and a full-ride scholarship to Arizona State University. 

The Obama Scholarship, a program for Arizona residents who are admitted to ASU full-time, will cover all expenses for up to eight semesters – including tuition, room and board, books and meals.  

Gaddy has her sights set on a double major in mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering, with the hopes of one day working with NASA.  

“I want to really use my knowledge and do something exciting with it,” she said.   

Gaddy learned the summer after her freshman year Heritage Academy offered college courses through CAC.  

She jumped on the opportunity and enrolled. Although most of the college curriculum was online, Gaddy still had to balance a full-time high school curriculum.  

“There was definitely a learning curve,” she said. “But it does benefit you later on.”  

Her mother, Rosi, highly encourages others to take advantage of such programs while still in high school.  

The cost-free nature of the college courses allowed Gaddy to accumulate 63 credits in high school, providing a significant head start toward her educational journey. 

“I’m so happy and proud as a parent. This has been so helpful,” Rosi said. “Take advantage of what CAC really offers.”