Double graduations

Published 9:58 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2013

One of the best deals in higher education these days is the community college system. Classes are cheaper, some work can be done online, students can take classes without moving to a new community or having to pay to live in a dormitory, and degrees and certificates are available that can move many students directly into a great career — or improve their standing in the career they’ve already got.

Some students around the commonwealth have even realized the benefit of using community colleges as way to kick off a four-year degree from a traditional university, enjoying all the economic benefits of the community college while taking advantage of the available co-enrollment and transfer opportunities that can help them transition directly from community college to the university level as third-year students.

What’s not widely known, however, is the even bigger jump students can get on their college degrees if they start working on them in high school.


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Even though they do not officially graduate from high school until June 8, two students from Suffolk — one from Lakeland High School and one from King’s Fork High School — brought home associate degrees from Paul D. Camp Community College following graduation ceremonies at the college’s Franklin campus on Friday. Because of the dual-enrollment program offered by PDCCC, when they enter their respective universities in the fall, they will be far ahead of their fellow “first-year” students, and they will have saved themselves and their parents a lot of money.

Lakeland’s Rockwell Shields will pursue an engineering degree at Old Dominion University, and King’s Fork’s Kimaya Council will head to Norfolk State University for a pre-med degree and from there, she hopes, on to medical school. The boost that both got by sacrificing some of their free time in pursuit of their education will serve them well in the long run.

Congratulations to both of these smart young people for their very mature and wise choices. Paul D. Camp Community College and Suffolk Public Schools should both be proud to have them as part of their 2013 graduating classes.