When Danville Area Community College recognizes graduates at the Commencement Ceremony in Mary Miller Gymnasium Friday night, included in their number will be seven recent high school graduates. Like, really recent…
Adrienne Arlington and Kamden Knight graduated from Georgetown Ridge Farm High School on Saturday, May 15, and Fiona Pelszynski and Tinlee Shepherd graduated from Westville High School on Sunday, May 16. Makynzie Miller, Hayven Torres, and Anna Kedas will graduate from Salt Fork High School on Saturday, May 30.
All seven of these students have accomplished an amazing feat! Taking advantage of the opportunity to earn dual credit while still in high school, six of these graduates earned their Associate degree and one earned an advanced certificate. Many will transfer to four-year universities in the fall with the credits of a college junior – while still only 18 years old.
Programmatic dual credit takes several forms at DACC, from Middle College helping at-risk students stay in school and finish their high school diploma, to College Express offering career and technical programs to high school juniors and seniors, but dual enrollment in transfer courses has no set plan. With the permission of their high school, students enroll in general education courses that fit the requirements of their chosen four-year transfer institution. Some schools release students to take courses during the day, but often the classes are taken in the students’ free time online, at night, or during summer and winter terms.
To complete an associate degree while still in high school takes a uniquely motivated student. To maintain honor student status while doing it – as five of these graduates have done – takes an extremely dedicated student.
Fiona Pelszynski, a magna cum laude graduate from Westville, said this about her journey, “It feels really great to be a “dual” graduate. I’ve been taking summer and Winter Term classes on top of doing dual enrollment in the fall and spring. Finally accomplishing something that you’ve worked so hard for is a really rewarding feeling.”
Tinlee Shepherd took that one step further by maintaining a perfect GPA at both her high school and DACC. She will be one of three Class Marshalls leading the graduates into and out of the gymnasium Friday night. Tinlee says being a leader during the ceremony makes her feel like “my hard work has finally paid off!”
Students and parents interested in learning more about dual credit and dual enrollment opportunities at DACC should contact Academic Advisement and Counseling at 217-443-8750, as well as speak with your high school guidance counselor.