Student earns degree before diploma

Published 8:48 pm Saturday, May 12, 2012

By Wendy Harrison

Special to the News-Herald

Chris Graham received an associate degree on Friday at Paul D. Camp Community College’s commencement ceremony.

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The thing is, he hasn’t even graduated from high school yet.

The 18-year-old King’s Fork High School student obtained his degree through the dual enrollment program. The son of Scott and Karen Graham, of Suffolk, he earned his Associate of Arts and Science degree in general education and a Certificate in General Studies from PDCCC. He will transfer to Old Dominion University this fall as a junior and will major in mechanical engineering.

Graham

“I thought it would be nice to graduate with an associate degree and have a bit of the college work done,” he said. “I was focused on pursuing my education and (this program) will help me better prepare for the working world.”

Graduating with honors from King’s Fork, holding membership in the school’s Beta Club, and serving as assistant scoutmaster in Boy Scout Troop 1, Main Street United Methodist Church, hasn’t left Graham much time for extracurricular activities.

“A lot of my time is spent on college work,” he said. “I did take a lot of the online courses because it was easier and saved the need to travel to the college.”

As a result of his participation in the dual enrollment program, Graham has inspired his younger brother, Josh, a rising sophomore at King’s Fork, to enroll in the program.

“He is getting signed up and taking some classes this summer,” said Chris. “One of the biggest advantages of the program is that the grade you receive is for passing the course, not for passing a test. There is no big AP (Advanced Placement) or SOL (Standards of Learning) exam. And the dual credit is at a higher level than the SOLs.”

Dual-enrollment classes are offered in high schools in the PDCCC service area. Dual enrollment allows qualified high school students to enroll in college coursework while still in high school.

“I would recommend the program to other students,” he said. “It is beneficial because it helps you adjust to college-level courses — the workload, time management and the differences in instruction methods from high school to college teachers.”

For more information on dual enrollment at PDCCC, contact Educational Projects Advisor Audrey Lawrence at 569-6770 or alawrence@pdc.edu.