School News Network feature: Voca Ford earns high school diploma, GRCC associate degree — and is just 15

During the Tri County High School graduation ceremony last month, senior Voca Ford gave a speech on the importance of personal fulfillment.

“I focused on pushing everyone to find happiness in their lives and not focus on objective or perceived success,” said Voca, who was one of three valedictorians at the Howard City school. “I think that’s really the most important thing in life — to do something you actually enjoy doing.”

What personal success will look like for Voca is anyone’s guess, but it’s safe to say anything is possible. When she walked across the Tri County stage to receive her diploma, she had already done the same at Grand Rapids Community College, where she received her associate degree in general studies.

While that’s an impressive feat for any high school senior, Voca is just 15 years old and started taking college courses at age 12.

Voca — who her mom, Tyana Ford, describes as “always a precocious child” and “like a sponge” — moved up several grade levels as a child, beginning with third-grade reading classes while in kindergarten. 

“I’ve always really enjoyed learning. It’s a weird thing to say because I feel a lot of life is just learning and adapting to what is around you,” said Voca, noting that her mother introduced her to math and reading very early on. “I really like the challenge of learning new things and broadening my horizons … Just learning as much as you can with as much time as you’re given is really important to me.”

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