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PHS graduate earns 3 associate degrees from OC - Odessa American: Odessa College

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PHS graduate earns 3 associate degrees from OC

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Posted: Monday, December 30, 2019 4:00 am

When Vivianna Menchaca graduated from Odessa College recently, she took home three associate degrees.

Menchaca, 17, also has graduated from Permian High School early and plans to start at University of Texas Permian Basin Jan. 13. She plans to study psychology and minor in criminology and is looking at pursuing forensic psychology.

Graduating from high school was her goal, but then she graduated college first and “it was different.”

“But I still plan on walking the stage (for high school graduation) in May,” Menchaca said.

Her father, Oscar Menchaca, is the EMS clinical coordinator at Odessa College and a firefighter. Vivianna said he pushed her to take her first class.

“Then I got on a degree plan and I knew I wanted to get my degree while I was in high school,” she said.

Her associate degrees are in psychology, sociology and general studies.

“At first it was just psychology and then I realized that psychology and sociology go hand in hand and general studies you can branch off and get any degree with that,” Menchaca said.

After she starts college, Menchaca will have about two years left for her undergraduate degree.

She got interested in psychology because she likes talking to people.

“… I feel like I’m really good at talking to people and helping people and I also am interested in the criminal justice system. That was part of why I wanted to do forensic psychology,” she said.

Menchaca said she is proud of her accomplishments.

“… I know that if I work hard at something, then I can do it no matter what it is,” she said.

In high school, Menchaca has been involved in art, academic decathlon and is a varsity swimmer.

“She manages decathlon,” Burkhalter said. “That’s the hardest part for us is that she’s leaving. She’s been such an integral part of us being successful. The whole decathlon program, all the teachers, really depend on Vivanna. There’s five of us that depend on her. She’s pulled in a lot of different directions and handles it with ease.”

She has signed up for classes at UTPB, has been through orientation and toured the campus. Having been at OC, she said she has somewhat of a feel for what college classes will be like.

PHS art teacher and academic decathlon coach Pam Burkhalter was on hand at a recent Ector County ISD Board of Trustees meeting for a presentation of the Christmas Card Design Winners. Menchaca won for the high school level.

Burkhalter said Menchaca winning the card contest for high school was unusual because this was the first year she had tried. But she said Menchaca is a unique and rare person who is very intelligent.

“Whatever she puts her mind to, she does it. She never ceases to amaze me and she is quite talented,” Burkhalter said.

Odessa, TX

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