May 15, 2024

La Crosse High School student to graduate high school, college simultaneously

Posted May 15, 2024 9:45 AM


Tristen Wilhelm, a remarkable student from La Crosse, Kansas, is on the brink of achieving a groundbreaking milestone. At just 18 years old, Tristen is poised to become the first student in the history of La Crosse High School to graduate from high school and college simultaneously.

Born on January 23, 2006, Tristen's path to success has been marked by determination, resilience, and a drive to pursue his passions. Despite facing limited physical mobility, Tristen has never let obstacles get in the way of pursuing his dreams. Now, as he prepares to graduate from NCK Tech's Pharmacy Technician program on May 9, 2024, and La Crosse High School on May 18, 2024, Tristen's achievements serve as an inspiration to his peers and community.

Guided by the advice of his counselor and his own aspirations, Tristen chose to pursue a career as a pharmacy technician and began taking classes during his senior year of high school. Unlike many of his peers, Tristen opted for a shorter-term program, rather than the traditional four-year college route. He wanted more of a direct path to achieving his professional goals and decided the NCK Tech program was a perfect fit for him.

Tristen's daily schedule is a testament to his discipline and dedication. Each day begins at 5:45am and ends 7:00pm, Monday-Friday. During that time Tristen attends NCK Tech classes in the morning and high school classes in the afternoon. After classes are over, Tristen still has an internship, a job, and sports practice before he can call it a day. His commitment and relentless work ethic have been instrumental in his accomplishments.

While in high school, Tristen participates in many extracurricular activities. He spent five years as a manager for the La Crosse Junior High and High School football teams. During his junior year of high school Tristen played wheelchair basketball, which included traveling to Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska. Because of his busy class schedule he opted not to play during his senior year. His real passion lies in track and field, where he’s competed at state each year in the 100m and 400m races.

Reflecting on his journey, Tristen acknowledges the support he has received and the challenges he has overcome. "Starting out, my biggest challenge was not knowing what to expect," he shares. "But the small class size of the NCK Tech Pharmacy Technician program helped tremendously with the adjustment from high school classes to college classes and allowed for the personal attention that I needed."

Looking ahead, Tristen plans to work as a Pharmacy Technician in the La Crosse area, where he will be close to home and able to serve his hometown community. His determination and discipline, cultivated through years of facing and overcoming challenges, have prepared him for this next chapter in his life.

Tristen is not just graduating; he is paving the way for future generations, proving that with hard work and perseverance, anything is possible.