A cooperative venture between Thomson High School, the Thomson campus of Augusta Tech and McDuffie County Partners for Success is opening new doors for students and helping them enter the work force with a good job right out of high school.
Under a joint enrollment program, high school juniors and seniors can sign up for the Cisco Academy networking class and take courses at Augusta Tech while working toward a CCNA specialist technical certificate of credit, said Mary Ann Kotras, executive director of McDuffie County Partners for Success that helps fund the text books for the program.
Now in its fifth year, this successful program held open registration at the high school yesterday, and is planning a banquet for current and prospective students and parents. More details about the program will be available at the dinner May 11 at 6 p.m. at the THS cafeteria, and those interested in attending must RSVP by May 6 to Pat Farner, THS counselor, 595-9393, ext.4217.
"This really is an excellent opportunity for students who are serious about going into the computer networking field. It's real world learning," said Ms. Farner.
The program is supported by the Georgia Hope scholarship, said Julie Langham, admissions, recruiting and testing coordinator for Augusta Tech.
"There is no cost to the students, and they not only get high school credit, they get Tech credit, too," she said.
The high school students must take an admission test for Augusta Tech, and they attend classes at the Thomson Campus of Augusta Tech to use the specialized equipment there, Ms. Langham said.
THS provides transportation, and students are back at the high school in time for dismissal, she said.
"It's been a really successful program, and something we want to see continue," Ms. Langham said. A total of 55 Thomson High students have taken advantage of the Cisco program, said Jeanette Lowe of Augusta Tech.
As part of the course of study, students learn to design, build and maintain small and medium networks. This allows them a chance to enter the workforce from high school, or to further their education and training in the computer networking field. The course has a total of 24 credits.
The program began with the organization Community In Schools which presented the concept to officials. The county, the high school, the board of education and Augusta Tech all worked closely to put the program in place, Dr. Kotras said.
Those with questions should contact Ms. Langham at 595-0166 for admissions or financial aid information.