By Laura McFarland Editor-in-Chief
POWHATAN — Less than two weeks before graduating from Powhatan High School, 18 seniors from the Advance College Academy (ACA) program first took a different step and received their associate degrees.
Now in its fifth cohort of graduating students, the ACA program is a partnership between the high school and Reynolds Community College that allows students to earn an associate’s degree in social sciences while earning an advanced high school diploma.
The ACA Class of 2022 graduated from Reynolds on May 15 and then from Powhatan High School on May 26.
The ACA Class of 2022 graduates are: Ainsley Alexander, Kyleigh Brooks, Julianna Cascone, Sarah Daniels, Sheyla Daniels, Jack Dennis, Savanna Harrison, Russ Holland, Keegan McCullough, Callie Mikita, Carter Mikita, Erika Roark, Mikie Sanchez, Peyton Tuttle, Brynne Smith, Reece Smith, Hayden Wasson and Connor Yates.
Graduates applied to the program in the eighth grade. They took honors and AP-level courses in grades nine and 10 and dual-enrollment college courses in grades 11 and 12, earning 60 college credits. College credits are transferable to over 20 top colleges and universities in the state of Virginia.
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“Advance College Academy has been a wonderful collaboration between Powhatan HS and Reynolds Community College that has given students the opportunity to learn the skills needed to do college work and earn high school college credit,” said Rick Cole, career coach.
Since 2018, 98 PHS students have earned associate degrees through the program, Cole said. Fifteen of the eighteen students were recognized as 2022 Reynolds Honors graduates, 12 as summa cum laude (3.8-4.0) and three as magna cum laude (3.5-3.79). Eight of Powhatan High School’s 2022 top 10 students are participants in the ACA program.