Polk State’s youngest bachelor’s student to receive degree May 3
Harrison Broer said his first day of college was weird.
That’s because he was only 15 years old, and after completing his Associate in Arts degree a semester before graduating from Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School, he was the youngest student from the collegiate high schools to enroll in baccalaureate degree courses.
“But my peers quickly realized that I was serious about my education and I was there to participate right alongside them,” Broer said. “I’m always the one to engage professors, ask questions, and volunteer to solve problems.”
Broer, now 18, will receive a Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management with a concentration in Business Administration on May 3 as part of the College’s 118th graduating class. He will graduate with a 4.0 grade-point average (GPA), and Phi Theta Kappa and Golden Key International Honor Society honors.
He is the youngest student to receive a bachelor’s degree from Polk State.
“My peers quickly realized that I was serious about my education and I was there to participate right alongside them,” Broer said.
Broer was home schooled and dual enrolled at Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School, where he received an Associate in Arts degree in December 2017 before receiving his high school diploma in May 2017. He graduated as valedictorian of his class with a 4.63 GPA.
“I’m naturally really competitive, so when I received a fall status report in high school, and I was in fifth place, I enrolled in two Fasttrack 1, two Fasttrack 2, and two 16-week courses to boost my GPA,” he explained. “I was surprised when I received the call that I was valedictorian and needed a speech ready for graduation.”
He is keeping the momentum going, achieving his bachelor’s degree only a year after receiving an Associate in Arts degree. He plans to start on a Master of Business Administration at Florida State University this summer, and wants to pursue doctorate and juris doctor degrees.
“Yup – eight more years of school,” he exclaimed. “But I don’t want to stop. I don’t want to lose any steam.”
Broer aspires to attend a top 50 law school and ultimately teach business and law as a college professor one day.
“I’m pursuing business management because I enjoy motivating people to succeed and making processes more efficient,” he explained. “I also want to pursue law because I am organized, logical, and straight forward, and I enjoy the process.”
Broer added that his experience in college, as well as juggling a full-time job with his family’s business, has allowed him to mature and gain the foundation he needs to be successful in his future endeavors.
Polk State faculty and staff agree.
“It did not take long to figure out there was something special about him. He is one of the hardest working students I have ever encountered, yet he somehow makes it look easy and effortless,” Professor Gideons wrote.
“While Harrison’s transcript provides ample evidence of his academic accomplishments, I can attest that his performance in the classroom is also outstanding,” Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Painter wrote in a letter of recommendation. “Harrison is extremely committed to his academic goals.”
“Harrison completed the required credits (for an AA) well in advance of his high school graduation. This enabled him to begin taking courses toward his bachelor’s degree while still enrolled in high school. This requires a high level of commitment, as few high school students are able to handle the rigor of coursework designed for college juniors and seniors,” Dr. Painter added. “This speaks to Harrison’s self-motivated nature and again reinforces that he has the skills necessary to excel in graduate studies.”
Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School Mathematics Professor Ami Gideons shared a similar sentiment.
“It did not take long to figure out there was something special about him,” Gideons wrote in a letter of recommendation. “He is one of the hardest working students I have ever encountered, yet he somehow makes it look easy and effortless.”
Broer says he loves the academic atmosphere because it allows for a healthy exchange of ideas and mutual understandings, as well as mutual disagreements.
He extended a special thanks to God, as well as to his parents and family, Dr. Painter, Professor Gideons, Professor of Social Science Dawn Dyer, Professor of Economics Gordon Kettle, Professor of Business Terry Pittman, Professor of Business Eric Smith, Professor of English Rafaela Ellis, Professor of Mathematics Rogelio Aleman, and Director of Student Enrollment Services and Registrar Kathy Bucklew.
“I didn’t want to pay twice as much at another school, when the degree from Polk State is just as valuable at a fraction of the cost,” Broer said.
He added that the College has his full endorsement. Raised in Auburndale, Broer decided to pursue higher education at Polk State due to the convenient location, affordability, and quality of the College’s programs.
“I didn’t want to pay twice as much at another school when the degree from Polk State is just as valuable at a fraction of the cost,” he said. “Unlike high school, no one is required to go to college. Therefore, my advice to any student is that if you apply yourself, you will learn a lot, and you will be successful.”