"˜Friday Night Lights' Star Earns Diploma at a Distance Through Texas Tech Independent School District

Released: 5/1/2007 4:40 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Texas Tech University
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Newswise — Like all high school seniors, Jesse Plemons can't wait to walk across the stage and graduate from high school.

But unlike most seniors, the 19-year-old who stars as Landry Clark on NBC's "Friday Night Lights" will meet his fellow graduates for the first time when he walks across the stage for Texas Tech University Independent School District graduation.

The ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. Sunday (May 6) at the Merket Alumni Center, located at 17th Street and University Avenue in Lubbock. Though not open to the public, the media can attend the ceremony.

"I'm anxious to come down for graduation and meet everyone," Plemons said. "I'm very ready to close that chapter. Even though I got my GED when I was 16, I really wanted to get an actual diploma. I'm really glad that I did."

Plemons completed his high school curriculum through Texas Tech's distance learning diploma program after enrolling his sophomore year. He is one of 161 seniors graduating during the 2006-2007 graduation year.

About 20 of the students will travel to Lubbock to attend Sunday's festivities. Tibor Nagy, Texas Tech's vice provost for International Affairs, will give the graduation address.

Plemons' professional acting career took off in the last few years, with appearances in TV shows such as "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Judging Amy," "¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬Walker: Texas Ranger" and "Grey's Anatomy." He said needed an alternative to traditional school. TTUISD's flexible yet rigorous program fit the bill.

"With Texas Tech, I couldn't have asked for more with them," Plemons said. "My instructors helped me out so much. Any time I had a question, they were right there for me. I don't know how I could have done it without them."

In addition to television work, Jesse's movie credits include "Varsity Blues" and "Like Mike."

The TTUISD 2007 graduates come from 14 states and five foreign countries.
Texas Tech University High School was established in 1993 as a Texas public high school able to offer diplomas at a distance. The elementary and middle school grade levels were added in 1998, making the entire kindergarten through twelfth grade curriculum available at a distance. The number of graduates has increased steadily each year, with this year's graduates pushing the total to 1,205. Most of the 2007 graduates of Texas Tech University High School will be attending some 50 different community colleges, colleges and universities, and some will serve in the military.

Many other actors, entertainers, athletes and young people pursuing other professional careers have chosen TTUISD to complete their secondary education. Hunter Parrish, seen on the Showtime series "Weeds" and featured in the recent Hilary Swank movie "Freedom Writers," is also a graduating senior. He was seen in "RV" with Robin Williams, and has many television credits, including "Law & Order: SVU" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." Hunter hosts a popular talk show podcast called "Two Guys and a Girl." Leven Rambin, a Daytime Emmy-nominated actress, and regular on ABC's "All My Children" is a TTUISD junior.


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