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Career and College Promise offers high school students a head start on college

By Erin Smith

A group of enthusiastic students and parents gathered on Monday morning at Bladen Community College to learn more about the school’s program Career and College Promise.  According to Sierra Griffin, who serves as the College and High School Programs Coordinator, there are 90 new students who are enrolling in the program for the upcoming academic year. There are also 50 returning students.

The program saw 19 high school seniors graduate with an Associate’s Degree and their high school diploma in the 2016-17 academic year. Griffin told those gathered the credits earned for the classes students will be attending through the Career and College Promise program will transfer to any public college or university. She added private colleges have their own procedures when accepting college credits but Wingate College, Methodist University and Campbell University do accept BCC credits.

Students were busy Monday finalizing schedules and learning their way around the campus.

One student, Callie Lewis who attends West Bladen High School, said, “It’s a really good opportunity for us to get college credits.”

Lewis said her mother works at West Bladen and told Callie about the program. Callie said by completing the program, it will save money on college. She wants to attend North Carolina State University and major in Veterinary Medicine.

Rashawn Rush, who attends East Bladen High School, said his mom found out about the program and pushed him to enroll. He said his mom told him he could do it. 

When asked what he thought after hearing the presentation on Monday, Rush said, “I don’t think anything worth doing is easy.”

Vanessa Miranda, also attends East Bladen High School, and said Career and College Promise will benefit her when she attends the college of her choice.

“I think it is going to be pretty good,” said Miranda of the program. 

Miranda plans to attend UNC Chapel Hill and wants to be a Pediatrician.

She said one of the attractions of  Career and College Promise is the fact that if she successfully completes the courses, she will earn college credit for them. Miranda said she is the first student in her family to attend college.

While, Mariah Smith-Chottingham, who is also a student at East Bladen High School, said she chose Career and College Promise to assist her in completing some of her high school requirements and receive college credit for classes. 

Smith-Chottingham said she completed some courses during the summer and felt she did well with them. She is thinking of attending a college in New York and plans to earn a Master’s Degree in English.

Friends Mahogany Rozier and Ariel Shaw, both attend West Bladen High School. Rosier said she chose Career and College Promise as a method to save her family money.

Ariel Shaw said, “It is a good experience and it prepares us for college.”

Both said they believe successfully completing the program will assist them in competing for academic scholarships as well.

Rozier said she would like to attend UNC Chapel Hill and become a surgeon. Shaw said she would like to attend either Southeastern Community College or UNC Chapel Hill and become a Midwife.

DeAnna Autry, who attends West Bladen High School, said she has wanted to take part in Career and College Promise since she learned about it in the ninth grade. Autry said she feels like the program will help her to have a better mindset when she enters college. She wants to attend North Carolina A & T State University. 

Jose Luis, a student at West Bladen High School said this is his first year taking courses through Career and College Promise. He said he learned about the program from hearing some of the senior level students  discussing it. Luis said it got him interested and he went to the school’s Guidance Office and inquired about the program.

Luis said they told him about Sierra Griffin and, after meeting with her, he enrolled in the program. He wants to attend Duke University.

Dr William Findt, Barry Priest, and Jeff Kornegay were among the faculty and staff who welcomed the students for their day on the campus.

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