Teen to earn college degree before graduating high school

CALDWELL — Paul Riebe will graduate twice this month — first from college, then from high school. And he’s only 18.

Paul will receive a liberal arts associate degree from the College of Western Idaho on May 13. Six days later, he’ll walk across the stage at his high school graduation at Vision Charter School.

“I’m an overachiever,” Paul said.

Paul started taking college courses in the eighth grade. He will receive an associate degree through Idaho’s Advanced Opportunities programs, a combination of online, dual-credit and CWI college classes. Advanced Opportunities involve three programs, which the state reimburses all or part of the costs to help students graduate early or with college credits.

“Paul is very driven and has always taken initiative in his education,” said Jason George, a science teacher at Vision Charter School. “He is the kind of student that makes teaching very rewarding.”

Paul owns a 3.8 grade-point average and plans to study material engineering at the University of Idaho. He will start his college career with 69 credits.

“Paul stands out due to having a multi-faceted personality, deep curiosity and love of engineering,” said Michael Samuelson, a robotics coach at Vision Charter School.

His engineering passion started while growing up on an 80-acre farm in Sand Hollow. Paul has been using tools and building with his hands since the age of 5. He often helps his father with projects around the farm.

“Engineering makes my gears turn,” Paul said. “It comes naturally to me.”

Paul landed an internship in the fall working at Intermountain 3D. He worked one day a week learning the ins and outs of 3D printing. His internship turned into a summer job which he hopes will lead to more experience.

“At a certain point, the coolness factor of the work you’re doing outweighs whatever you might be getting payed,” Paul said. “It was the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”

Paul also is pursuing his pilots license, works on cars with his brother and helps his father with the family shoe repair business —  Riebe’s Downtown Shoe Repair.

Fun facts about Paul Riebe

  • Favorite drink? Thai tea
  • Favorite sport to watch? Competitive robotics
  • What are the first three songs on your current music playlist? “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown” by Volbeat, “Lateralus” by Tool and “Kiss From A Rose” by Seal
  • You just got a free plane ticket to go anywhere. Where are you going? I’m going to bend the rules and assume that SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft counts in this case, and I would go on a trip around the moon.
  • Three things you can’t live without? Car, hammock, boots and all the people in my life
  • Favorite emoji? Sorry to disappoint, but I never use emojis. I prefer a good old fashioned exclamation point.

Andrew Reed

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday