Eight students are celebrating two graduations this year in Sullivan County Schools.
These students graduated from high school and earned a one-year certificate from Northeast State Community College.
The students completed all the high school graduation requirements while also accumulating more than 30 hours of college credit at the same time through a dual enrollment program made available to them at their high schools, with six from West Ridge in welding and two from Sullivan East in machine tool.
Dual enrollment provides more challenging courses, and more importantly according to county school system career technical education supervisor Debbie Madgett, a pathway to post-secondary training and the workforce. The East students graduated Thursday night, while the West Ridge ones graduated Friday night.
“These students have accepted the challenge” and accomplished what she called “an extraordinary goal for a high school student,” Madgett said.
She said being a dual enrollment graduate prepares them better for the future and opens more opportunities for entering the workforce if they choose that option.
They took advantage of an opportunity to get a head start on their college experience. Dual enrollment grant-based funds were also available for financial assistance to the programs they were enrolled in and with help from their high school and Northeast State staff they were able to utilize those funds.
“I wanted to leave high school with more than just my high school diploma and the only cost was $66.25 for one book,” dual enrollment graduate Eli Richardson of Sullivan East said. “I think it helped me decide how I wanted my future to be and I plan on finishing my Machine Tool degree at Northeast State”.
Richardson also said one of his high school teachers, Jamie Gray, was very instrumental in his decision to choose dual enrollment by explaining everything about the program and how to get enrolled in it.
Another Sullivan East dual enrollment student, Seth Snyder, had positive comments about the program as well.
“My parents said it would be a good thing to get into,” adding that “it got my foot in the door” and that he will continue his education at Northeast State and plans to get a good job once he finishes his Associates degree.
Sullivan County Schools Career and Technical Education Department is focusing on providing every opportunity for their students to receive a “Diploma Plus” while still in high school, Madgett said.
Among these opportunities are; Work-based Learning, Dual Credit, Dual Enrollment, Industry Credential, Pre-apprenticeships and Apprenticeships. The department and school system are working closely with business and industry and post-secondary institutions to provide these opportunities, Madgett said.