On May 15, three Lakeland High School seniors and six Nansemond River High School seniors graduated from Paul D. Camp Community College with an associate’s degree. Next month, they will walk the stage at SPS commencement exercises to receive their high school diploma.
Since 2010, a total of 12 seniors in Suffolk Public Schools have taken advantage of the community college’s dual-enrollment program, which allows high school students to simultaneously earn both college and high school credits.
“It is wonderful to see these students reach the goals they’ve worked so hard to attain,” PDCCC Dual Enrollment Coordinator Jeanette Pellegrin stated. “It takes extreme time-management skills and dedication to achieve this accomplishment.”
Interim college president Dr. Bill Aiken said, “This program is essential to those students who are focused on completing academic and career goals at a faster pace than the traditional student.”
Students are required to earn 61 college credit hours to be awarded the college’s general studies associate’s degree. At the same time, they must complete the requirements for an advanced studies high school diploma, which is 26 high school credits. While some courses count toward both high school credits and college credits, these dedicated students must also take some college-required courses over the summer, online, or in the evenings. Dual-credit (DC) courses taught at the high schools follow a college curriculum, and include DC Pre-Calculus, DC U.S. History, DC Biology, DC English Composition, DC Government, and DC Psychology. Students pursuing the associate’s degree must also take college-only courses, such as Introduction to Micro-Computers, a Fine Arts course in music or art, Public Speaking, College Survival Skills, and Practical Reasoning.
For dual-credit courses taught at the high school, students pay a reduced tuition cost. For courses taken at the college, students pay full tuition. The result is still saving families the cost of four full years of college. Another advantage is that students’ community college coursework is typically accepted by Virginia universities which can reduce the length of time needed to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Congratulations to the following Suffolk Public Schools’ community college graduates:
- Lakeland High School … Reagan Colley, 17, will be attending Old Dominion University in the fall to pursue her Ph.D. in Pediatric Audiology. She benefited from the dual enrollment courses because they gave her a head start on college. An honor graduate, she is the daughter of Michelle and Jeffrey Colley of Suffolk.
- Nansemond River High School … Rachel Hamilton, 18, is ranked in the top 13 percent of a class of 344. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Beta Club. She is a member of Fusion Dance Team and the Academy of Classical and Contemporary Dance. Hamilton is involved in numerous community service projects and is the recipient of the Academic Excellence Award (2012-present) for maintaining a 3.5 or higher GPA. She will attend Old Dominion University in fall and major in Biology. She then plans to transfer to a dental school before pursuing a specialist degree in Orthodontics.
- Nansemond River High School … Richard R. Hyman III, 18, is this year’s NRHS valedictorian — No. 1 in a class of 344. He is enrolled in Project Lead the Way: Pathways to Engineering; and member of the National Honor Society, National Society of High School Scholars, Beta Club and FIRST Robotics team. Hyman plans to attend the University of Central Florida to study Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering. He aspires to explore outer space with his own inventions, establish an engineering firm, and run for U.S. President. The honor graduate is the son of Estrella and Richard Hyman Jr.
- Lakeland High School … Lexus Isom, 18, serves as President of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority’s Rhoer Club (youth group) and Secretary of the FBLA. Isom is also a member of the Upward Bound Program, as well as an active participant in the community. She will attend George Mason University and major in Health, Fitness and Recreation. She plans to be a physical therapist. An honor graduate, she is the daughter of Sheila Sears of Suffolk.
- Lakeland High School … Travis Jones, 18, is a member of the National Honor Society and Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society. He performs volunteer work with the Salvation Army. Jones has been offered scholarships to Averett University, Ferrum College and Bridgewater College. He plans to major in Psychology and Pre-Law at one of these schools and ultimately become a lawyer. The honor graduate is the son of Ronald and Trina Jones of Suffolk.
- Nansemond River High School … John T. “Tommy” Lowry, 18, is a member of the National Honor Society and volunteers with Young Life organization. He will attend George Mason University to major in Computer Engineering. The honor graduate is the son of Keith and Noelle Lowry of Suffolk.
- Nansemond River High School … Christine Pinell, 18, is involved in Project Lead the Way: Pathways to Engineering at NRHS, athletics and the FIRST Robotics team. She is a member and leader in Girl Scouts, where she was the recipient of the Silver Award. Her service to the community has included the Nansemond River Preservation Alliance, Impact Hampton, Point Harbor Student Ministry and the Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts. Pinell will attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, majoring in Architecture. The honor graduate is the daughter of Cindy and Adam Pinell of Suffolk.
- Nansemond River High School … Trinity Torres, 18, will graduate from NRHS with an Advanced Diploma and is ranked in the top 10 percent of a class of 344. She is an active member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club and Student Council, and serves as Vice President of the FBLA. Torres has organized and led numerous initiatives, including River Revolution/B.O.L.D. and Fusion Youth Group. She plans to attend the College of William and Mary to major in International Relations and minor in Global Policy. She then wants to go to law school with the goal of working in International Business Law or Immigration Law. The honor graduate is the daughter of Estella and Angel Torres of Suffolk.
- Nansemond River High School … Jordan West, 18, will graduate from NRHS with an Advanced Diploma. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Beta Club. She was selected to Virginia Girl’s State and to attend University of Virginia’s Society of Women Engineers High School program. West has received numerous academic awards, and has been offered scholarships from University of Alabama School of Engineering and University of South Carolina for full-tuition. She plans to attend the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa to pursue a degree in Biological Engineering before applying to medical school. She wants to become a dermatologist. The honor graduate is the daughter of David and Ruth West.