Picture a student starting homeschool and community college at the same time. Now, multiply that by three! That's the journey the DeVries triplets embarked on when they all decided to enroll at Fullerton College (FC).
At 14, they enrolled as dual enrollment students and began their first semester in fall 2018. The Dual Enrollment Program at Fullerton College offers free college classes for students still enrolled in high school. The DeVries took college-level classes that guaranteed them General Education (GE) college credit as dual enrollment students.
Despite the commute from Rancho Cucamonga, they chose Fullerton College because of the beautiful campus, and how welcoming the college was to dual enrollment students.Being a homeschool and community college student presented its challenges. They live an hour away from the campus, so taking any public transportation would be a multiple-hour commute. Luckily, they have incredibly supportive parents who were willing to drive them to Fullerton because at 14, they did not have the luxury of having a driver’s license.
“I think we all were very lucky to have such an incredible support system because even beyond driving us places, our parents were always the first people to help me practice my speeches, help me edit papers, and help me study for tests,” Madison said.
Juggling three different class schedules required a lot of coordination and was no easy feat. They managed to keep things organized thanks to one essential item– their mom’s yellow-bound planner. The triplets were instructed by their mom to write in their class schedules and extracurricular activities. If they failed to do so, they were out of a driver and faced the significant possibility of missing their activity.
“Watching my mother use her yellow planner inspired me to get a planner,” Madison said. “I don’t think I could thrive in my life or even survive any of my classes if I did not have a planner.”
The DeVries’ mom Christine even decided to start taking some classes at Fullerton College. She enrolled in math and ceramics classes just for fun.
When the DeVries started at Fullerton College, they each made a pact not to take any classes together or participate in the same activities. Being triplets, they are often lumped together as one, and they wanted to create their individual communities and identities.
Madison was president of the German Club throughout her entire time at Fullerton College and a German tutor for the last two years.
“The German program gave me a sense of community at FC, which I will always be grateful for,” Madison said. “Helping German students learn to love the language and culture as much as I have has been incredible.”
Kennedy started out wanting to take only art classes but soon shifted course after her sister Madison encouraged her to take a foreign language course. Kennedy decided to take French and there was no going back from there. Kennedy has been the president of the French Club since her second semester and even tutors French through Hornets Tutoring.
“I started to realize as long as I made my own place at Fullerton College, Fullerton College is a very accepting environment,” Kennedy said.
Grant took a different approach and soaked in all that Fullerton College offered. He joined a robotics team in his free time off-campus and the speech and debate club at FC.
Once they all formed their own separate communities at Fullerton College, it felt easier to be part of some of the same extracurricular activities. Their pact to have separate interests soon dissolved when they all joined Associated Students. They all held executive officer positions throughout their time in Associated Students.
Grant soon became heavily involved in Associated Students, and it fueled his passion for political science. He began taking political science courses, interned for Assemblyman Philip Chen, and took a school trip to Sacramento through one of his courses. The class, led by Professor Jodi Balma, met with state senators and state assembly members. Grant was able to incorporate the knowledge he gained from his political science courses into Associated Students.
“Students who aren’t aware of student government lose out on having a voice,” Grant said. “Students really do have a voice, especially on this campus.” The DeVries have thrived at Fullerton College. All three are Students of Distinction recipients, an honor bestowed to 20 Fullerton College students. Grant and Kennedy were awarded Students of the Year during the Students of Distinction ceremony held in early May.
The DeVries will graduate from the Honors Program with 4.0 GPAs. Grant will graduate with an associate degree in political science, associate degree in foreign language and associate degree in mathematics. Kennedy will graduate with an associate degree in foreign language and an associate degree in English. Madison will graduate with an associate degree in foreign language and an associate degree in political science.
For the next chapter of their lives, the DeVries will each forge their own path ahead at different universities. Madison will attend UC Berkeley to study Political Science where she received the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship. Kennedy will be at Smith College studying Government and Translation Studies where she will be a STRIDE scholar. Grant will be at Haverford College studying Physics and Political Science. They’ll each bring that sense of community they all loved from Fullerton College to their respective universities.
“Fullerton College provided a new trajectory in life, a completely new outlook on how I want to do things and where I want to be,” Kennedy said. “It’s just been an amazing experience so I’m just really thankful for it.”