Unstoppable: UW-Green Bay’s Rising Phoenix program celebrates more than 100 high school students earning an associate degree before their high school diploma


Students from 19 Wisconsin high schools graduating this week

Green Bay, WI – Graduation season has arrived. Over the next month, thousands of students across the region will earn a high school or college degree—all reason for celebration. But there’s a group of students in our area who have double the reason to celebrate as they earn both, and have the unique distinction of graduating from college beforethey graduate from high school.

They are UW-Green Bay’s Rising Phoenix Class of 2024, representing a ground-breaking collaboration between Wisconsin high schools and the University. The Rising Phoenix program is celebrating its largest class of associate degreed students to walk across the stage on Saturday, and once they graduate from high school later this month, they will begin their college journey as third-year students.

Current Green Bay Preble High School senior, and Rising Phoenix Vanessa Abella-Martinez will earn her Associate’s degree along with her two siblings, (earning their Bachelor’s degree) at Saturday’s commencement ceremony.

Rising Phoenix celebration events within the region include:

  • Thursday, May 9, 2024 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus (students from Marinette High School)
  • Friday, May 10 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus (students from John Dewey Academy of Learning, Manitowoc Lincoln, Mishicot, Two Rivers, Luxemburg-Casco high schools)
  • Friday, May 10 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. at UW-Green Bay Phoenix Rooms (GEAR UP Rising Phoenix students- Ashland, Shawano, Wausau, Sheboygan, Green Bay and Milwaukee high schools)

Data highlights for the 2024 Spring semester:

  • 144 students completed the Rising Phoenix program, meaning they were enrolled with UW-Green Bay during their junior and senior years
  • 119 (83%) Rising Phoenix students will be earning the Associate of Arts & Sciences degree at the 2024 Spring Commencement morning ceremony on Saturday, May 11, 2024

Wisconsin high schools with graduating Rising Phoenix students include:

GEAR UP Rising Phoenix High Schools 


Green Bay East

Green Bay Preble

Green Bay West

Green Bay Southwest

Milwaukee Public Schools: Alexander Hamilton

Milwaukee Public Schools: Bradley Tech

Milwaukee Public Schools: Riverside University


Sheboygan North

Sheboygan South

Sheboygan Warriner

Wausau East

Wausau West

Rising Phoenix High Schools 

Green Bay John Dewey Academy of Learning (JDAL)



Manitowoc Lincoln


Two Rivers

About UW-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a school of resilient problem solvers who dare to reach higher with the power of education that ignites growth and answers the biggest challenges. Serving 10,300 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students as well as 67,500 continuing education learners annually, UW-Green Bay offers 200 academic degrees, programs, and certificates. With four campus locations in Northeast Wisconsin, the University’s access mission welcomes all students who want to learn, from every corner of the world. Championing bold thinking since opening its doors in 1965, it is a university on the rise – Wisconsin’s fastest growing UW. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.


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