At just 17 years old, Ruby Gundrum is not your typical high school junior. While most teenagers her age are navigating the complexities of high school life, Gundrum has been blazing a trail at Galveston College, where she is set to graduate with her Associate of Science in General Studies, making her the earliest dual credit graduate in the college’s history.

Gundrum, whose family moved to Galveston from Illinois in 2019, is graduating from GC with a college degree one full year before receiving her high school diploma from Ball High School (BHS). She will be a high school senior in August and will graduate BHS in 2025.

“I’m excited to be graduating, but I also feel a little nervous because it means I’m closing out this part of my life and starting to move onto more challenging, but more exciting things in my life,” said Gundrum. “There is always that anticipation and nervousness that comes along with it.”

Balancing her studies as a dual credit student and high school junior has been no small feat for Gundrum. Despite the challenging schedule, she managed not only to excel academically, but also to actively participate in various extracurricular activities at GC and BHS.

From her involvement in GC’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society to her contributions to the BHS Interact Club, Band and the Math Honors Society, among others, she has made the most of her time. To stay on track, Gundrum uses time management skills she learned when she was younger and participated in gymnastics.

“I took gymnastics which needed a lot of discipline so I had to balance my schedule at an early age,” said Gundrum. “When things got busier, like balancing dual credit and high school classes with extracurricular activities, I was able to handle all of them.”

Gundrum’s achievements go beyond the academic realm. Her ability to juggle multiple responsibilities while maintaining a high level of commitment to her studies is a testament to her character and work ethic.

“Ruby began taking college courses earlier than any other student in high school, and it has paid off,” said GC Director of Educational Services, Elvia Segura. “How many students can say that they earned their associate degree three weeks before completing their junior year of high school? She’s our earliest dual-credit graduate and we celebrate all her achievements.”

Gundrum says she is self-motivated, but also could not have succeeded without her parent's support and the inspiration she’s received from her two older brothers.

“My parents have been my foundation and helped me along every step of the way. They are really supportive of everything I do, and they just want the best for me,” said Gundrum. “My brothers have been inspirational for me. They are both in college, one is in pharmacology and the other is in petroleum engineering, and I really want to add on to our family doing great things.”

With two brothers in college, Gundrum is conscious of the cost of college tuition and knows GC’s Dual Credit program has saved her family a large sum of money.

“Dual credit has taken a load off of our shoulders,” said Gundrum. “I have two brothers already in college so adding on a third person is more costly, but since I’m getting a lot of my education here at Galveston College, it jump-starts me one to two years ahead when I inevitably go to a four-year university which can save us a lot of money.”

Looking ahead, Gundrum has her sights set on attending prestigious universities like Clemson, Auburn, Vanderbilt and MIT. With her associate degree in hand, she is well on her way to achieving her dreams and inspiring others to do the same.


Galveston College was founded in 1967 and is a comprehensive community college providing the residents of Galveston Island and the surrounding region with academic, workforce development, continuing education and community service programs.