Thirteen members of the Thomson High School Class of 2009 have already graduated from Augusta Technical College thanks to a dual enrollment program between the two schools.
Wearing their THS caps and gowns, 10 of the 13 graduates marched in the technical college commencement ceremony on Wednesday, June 17, at the James Brown Arena in Augusta.
"This is the second year that we have offered this program for the high school students," said Julie Langham, the enrollment manager of Augusta Tech. "The seniors worked very hard to juggle both college and high school academics. It is very rewarding to see them graduate from Thomson High, and then almost one month later, they participated in our graduation ceremony."
The seniors attended their regular high school courses during the day, then attended Augusta Tech for evening classes, which included employer relations and interpersonal skills, medical terminology, diet and nutrition and certified nursing fundamentals. Upon completion of their coursework, they furthered their experience by working at McDuffie County Regional Medical Center, according to Mrs. Langham.
"The students really enjoyed their experiences at MRMC. ... In particular, they enjoyed the Alzheimer's patients and really became attached to them," Augusta Tech Instructor Jeannie Bohler said. "They will definitely benefit from this program later in life as they make their career choices."
Mrs. Langham said the dual enrollment program benefits students because it gives them a head start on their LPN diploma, rather than "starting from scratch right after their high school graduation." She said the program helps students become adjusted to college life, and they are eligible to work when they are finished. In addition many students use this program as a stepping stone to colleges and universities.
"The program gave me great experience working in a health care facility. Along with great people skills, I learned how Augusta Technical College works with students in a variety of programs," said Amber Merryman who is scheduled to enroll at Augusta Technical College in the fall for the LPN program.
Felicia Green, mother of LaJasmine Rivers said, "This was a great learning experience for LaJasmine. This has prepared her for college and for the RN program that she plans to enter. It was a very good learning experience for her and also would be a great experience for anyone interested in the health field."
In addition to Miss Merryman and Miss Rivers, the dual students who recently graduated include: Amanda Acosta, Kayla Bieltz, Sara Blackmon-Hughes, Megan Connor, Shamekia Freeman, Alexis Jackson, Mia Mance, Whitney Morgan, Jessica Rodewolt, Tiffany Rowland and Terica Thompson.