Kudos to dual enrollment graduates

Published 9:51 pm Wednesday, May 20, 2015

High school can be pretty easy, but only if one intends only to scrape by with barely-passing grades. To excel in high school takes hard work and perseverance. That’s what makes the accomplishment of nine Suffolk students so special. Not only have they excelled in their high school careers, but they’ve also completed enough coursework at Paul D. Camp Community College to have earned associate’s degrees from that institution.

In fact, six students from Nansemond River High School and three from Lakeland High School have graduated from the college ahead of receiving their high school diplomas. They received their college degrees during PDCCC’s commencement ceremonies last week and will receive their high school diplomas next month.

Suffolk has had increasing interest in the dual enrollment program with PDCCC, evidenced by a growing number of students earning associate’s degrees through it. Last year, four students completed the program. In 2013, there were two graduates, and in 2012, there was one.

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Considering the high cost of a traditional college education, taking part in a dual enrollment program makes a lot of sense. Students who do so can cross off many of the introductory and elective courses from their university requirements, setting themselves in a position to be able to concentrate on their specific majors during their final two years at the university level. Lower credit-hour costs for community colleges mean they will have saved money by doing so.

Participating in the dual enrollment program also helps students get used to the rigor of college studies while they are at home, where they’re more likely to be free from many of the distractions that await them when they move away for their post-secondary studies. By the time they get to their college or university of choice, they likely will have developed the good study habits that will help them complete school and do so with a high level of success. Finishing their college education two years earlier also sets those students out on their careers earlier, giving them greater lifetime earning (and saving) potential.

Congratulations to Lakeland’s Reagan Colley, Lexus Isom and Travis Jones and to Nansemond River’s Rachel Hamilton, Richard R. Hyman III, John T. “Tommy” Lowry, Trinity Torres, Christine Pinell and Jordan West for having the foresight and tenacity to do something very hard and very smart to cap off their high school careers.