Four dedicated Vienna High School (VHS) seniors from Illinois will graduate from college a day before they graduate from high school. Emmalee Anderson, Brandi McCuan, Keeley Harper, and Andrew Williams have worked hard to earn not only their high school diploma, but also their associate degree from Shawnee Community College (SCC) through a partnership the two schools have allowing students to earn college credit.
Rightfully, class of 2013 graduate Brandi McCuan stated, “I’m proud of myself. I’m glad that we’re all getting recognized for all of our hard work and determination to it.” The students all acknowledge that it wasn’t easy. Emmalee Anderson revealed, “It was very difficult. It took a lot of motivation to get through all of it but it, it really pays off.” Keeley Harper agreed, “It took a lot of time and maybe a few sacrifices along the way.”
Dean of Instructional Services at SCC, Jean Ellen Boyd congratulated the students for their outstanding accomplishments and explained that the program gives the kids a head start, “Getting a college level course at the high school and be able to count your high school hours and get your college credit at the same time, and at no cost right now. That’s an extreme benefit to the students and to the parents.” 2013 graduate of the program Andrew Williams said, “On estimate, I think I probably saved $4,000 plus just by doing this.”
The determined students collectively completed over 2,000 hours towards their college degrees in the dual credit partnership with class offerings at VHS and SCC online and at the colleges’ campuses. Joshua Stafford, the VHS Dual Credit Coordinator added, “We’re gaining time for students, and we’re gaining saving money for them at the same time.” After graduation, the goal-oriented students all have plans to continue their education and pursue bachelor’s degrees.