Lemoore Middle College graduate headed to UCLA with 5 associate's degrees

Dante Buell graduated not only with his high school diploma but five associate's degrees from West Hills.
LEMOORE, Calif. (KFSN) -- One Central Valley teen is heading to UCLA after achieving five associate's degrees and an above-average GPA of 4.65.

Four years ago, Dante Buell told his mother he was ready for a challenge and enrolled in Lemoore Middle College High School, where he took full advantage to get ahead.

He graduated not only with his high school diploma but five associate's degrees from West Hills.

"I got four liberal arts degrees and one political science degree," said Dante Buell.

His mother, Araceli Juarez, says something not many people know is the challenges her son faced growing up.

"He was born with a cleft lip pellet, two months premature, and a twin. He had six surgeries, and he's just a trooper, never complained," said his mother, Araceli Juarez.

Instead, he set his goals high, taking them day-by-day.

Buell says although life had its ups and downs, he never lost focus of his education which explains his recent accomplishments.

"There were some mental battles along the way, but I like to think of my work ethic as what really stood me out from the crowd," said Buell.

He was class president, valedictorian with a 4.65 GPA and was accepted to all 23 universities where he applied.

"There were days where I was here from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm, but it was hard work and so worth it," said Buell.

As if that didn't take up most of his time, he also picked up weekend jobs to save up for college.

His mother says she's beyond proud of his dedication and for not letting any childhood challenge define his future.

"I love him so much, and I am very, very proud of him. I can't wait to see what he does with his future," said Juraez.

He will be pursuing his degree in Political Science at UCLA. He hopes to one day become a state lawyer, following his grandfather's footsteps.

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