CROTHERSVILLE — Donning black caps and robes, 10 Crothersville High School students received diplomas for completing an associate’s degree program.
Yes, it’s true. For 10 years, Crothersville students had the unique opportunity to take college-level courses and earn enough credits to receive a college diploma before receiving their high school diploma.
The program started in Crothersville 11 years ago, but these seniors couldn’t graduate. They were only able to get a few extra dual credit courses to continue their college education.
Since then, high school students in Crothersville and Austin have been able to earn a free associate’s degree in general studies from Ivy Tech Community College.
Dual credit courses are taught by qualified high school teachers and Ivy Tech professors, and graduation allows students to spend a year or two less and save thousands of dollars pursuing a degree. higher academic.
The program was known as the Austin Crothersville Early College Initiative until it became The University Academy in recent years.
On May 14, Crothersville seniors Jalen Gibson, Karley Gillis, Cody Hall, Zach Helt, Kaylyn Holman, Kennadi Lakins, Kiarra Lakins, Brayden Morris, Ella Plasse and Haley Williams attended the Ivy Tech graduation ceremony at Columbus North High School.
“It was pretty cool sitting there at graduation and everyone around us was 20, 24, so I’m thinking, ‘We’re still in high school,'” Williams said. “It was just a relief to do.”
At their high school graduation on Friday night, the seniors will all know each other. But at Ivy Tech graduation, they didn’t know anyone but their classmates.
“It was really cool because I was like, ‘OK, this is real,'” Hall said.
“I was quite nervous all the time sitting next to people I didn’t know, but it was a lot of fun. It was really cool,” Morris said.
The seniors all started the college program early in the second year.
“My brother did, so my mom said, ‘That’s a good idea,’ so I just followed,” Williams said.
Hall’s sister had also completed the program. She started in Crothersville then went to Austin for her senior year.
He recalls being presented with the option of the early college program or enrolling in C4 Columbus Area Career Connection.
“I came home and I was like, ‘Hey, mom, people came in and told us all about this.’ Then my sister was also there, and she said to me, ‘Cody, you have to do first college’ because that’s what she did,” he said. “She was like, ‘It’s going to be really good. It takes two years out of your normal college, and you’ll graduate straight with an associate’, so I was like, ‘OK.
Morris said he originally wanted to do C4, but he got it wrong and signed up for the early college program.
“It was mainly the influence of my parents,” he said. “They thought it would be a great opportunity for me.”
Taking high school and college classes at the same time wasn’t so bad for Williams at first.
“It got harder over time, but really, at first it wasn’t that hard,” she said. “I don’t think it’s that bad because we started online with college-level courses (due to the COVID-19 pandemic), so it wasn’t that big of a change because we didn’t didn’t have to actually be in two-hour classes with people.
Hall said he might have more essays to write, but he managed to get all his work done.
“There were more things I had to do and more things to do on time, and it was a bit difficult to juggle it all, but you just take one thing at a time and you should be fine,” said- he declared.
Morris said the program was a good challenge.
“It was a lot harder to adjust to it compared to the normal high school stuff,” he said. “There was a lot more academic prowess. It was much harder for me. »
Fortunately, the 10 seniors could count on each other to succeed in the program.
“We’re a very tight circle,” Hall said. “We helped each other with a lot of things.”
Now that they have received their associate degree, seniors appreciate the opportunity and the accomplishment.
“A lot of schools here in particular don’t have it, so that was good,” Williams said.
“I’m surprised our little school even offers it, to be honest with you,” Morris said. “I just didn’t really think we would offer it with our small size, but I really like how we have it for everyone and it’s an option to get it.”
After high school, both Williams and Hall plan to attend Indiana University Southeast. She wants to study psychology to become a child advocate, and he wants to study business to work in financial management. Morris said he might consider going to trade school in the future, but wants to enter the workforce after graduation.
All three encourage fellow Crothersville students to try The University Academy or C4.
“Do something that will help you with your college. Even if you don’t go to college, it’s still good. It may sound scary because these are university courses. Year two is not really something you do, but it’s definitely worth it,” Williams said.
“Getting an associate’s degree sounds really good on paper,” Morris said.
“You could do a lot with an associate’s degree, especially right out of high school,” Hall said.