Zaria Todd stepped outside her comfort zone to learn new subject matter and broaden her mindset

If Zarria Todd could describe herself in one word, it would be “driven.”

That’s why at 18 the North Ridgeville resident will earn her associate of arts and associate of science degrees from Lorain County Community College through Lorain County Early College High School program at the same time she earns her high school diploma.

Todd plans to continue her education at Xavier University in Cincinnati and major in nursing anesthesiology to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist. It’s a career that will provide her an opportunity to serve her community.

She applies this passion in her role as a server at Rose Senior Living in Avon and she knows her desire to care for others will continue through her future career. Attending Early College High School gave her a head start, she says.

“Through the Early College program, I was able to take college courses while in high school, which allowed me to earn college credit and take some of the chemistry and biology courses needed for my major,” Todd says.

"Through the Early College program, I was able to take college courses while in high school, which allowed me to earn college credit and take some of the chemistry and biology courses needed for my major."

Zaria Todd

Lorain County Early College High School is an opportunity for students beginning in ninth grade to participate in a combined high school and college experience with the goal of earning a high school diploma and college associate degree at the same time. All courses are taught at LCCC tuition free.

Taking on the rigorous curriculum of a combined high school and college experience was challenging, but Todd was able to see beyond the day-to-day struggles.

“I wanted to push myself to achieve something greater,” Todd says. “The field I am going to pursue is competitive and being my age and having already took some of the more rigorous courses, it puts me ahead of others pushing for the same goal as me.”

Despite the complications of the pandemic, Todd succeeded in her studies and got one step closer to her goal. “Creating good study habits, mindful planning, good organization skills and time management helped me immensely in the successful completion of my degrees,” she says.

Todd adds that she stepped outside her comfort zone to learn new subject matter and broaden her mindset.

“From learning government with a tough professor my junior year of high school, to learning organic chemistry my senior year, I have definitely overcome my own barrier of sticking to what I know and what I am comfortable with,” she says.

The Tutoring Center and Writing Lab were also a source of support to her, Todd adds.

“I owe my counselor, Tracey Naymik, a great deal of gratitude for constantly helping me grow as a student in my academic journey,” Todd says. “She pushed me constantly and never allowed me to give up even when times got rough.”

As she looks to her future career, Todd says she hopes to become a caring advocate for her patients.

“Surgery is an uneasy topic for anyone, and I want to make sure patients are receiving the proper care and reassurance that they will be okay going into the procedure and coming out,” she says.