Concurrent Students Graduate UACCM and High School

High school students have access to UACCM courses and resources through concurrent programs.

Two men wearing graduation robes and hats hold up diploma holders
(L to R): Garrett and Bryan Pendergraft, brothers, graduated together at UACCM. Bryan also graduated from high school this year. Garrett graduated as a junior in high school with summa cum laude honors.
At the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, you can catch students rushing to classrooms, the basketball court outside the Kirk Building, or at the Library Complex. But for the most part, you probably pay little attention to the presence of high school students that come and go on campus.

During the 2019 spring commencement season, eight students graduated from high school as well as UACCM. They were able to take classes at UACCM because of its concurrent programs, where credits are applied toward both their high school requirements as well as their college education. They were among the 352 graduates from the spring semester.

Some students enroll after forging strong ties with UACCM. Bryan Pendergraft, a concurrent graduate as a Faulkner County homeschool student, first came in 2014 to attend the college’s Career Exploration with his brother, Garrett. This annual summer camp introduces students from grades 8-12 to career fields and allows them to gain hands-on experience. The then 15 year-old left the camp liking the auto service technology program. It interested him because of what the field included, encouraged after working with UACCM instructors, and he even learned how to mix and match paint.

But his goals changed. As a concurrent student, Pendergraft earned an Associate of Science in Business along with his high school diploma. He graduated with Garrett, a junior in high school who received a degree with summa cum laude honors.

There are several benefits to participating in a concurrent program, Mary Clark, UACCM director of marketing and public relations, explained.

“Two of the primary advantages are the savings of both time and money,” Clark said. “UACCM’s partnerships with many high schools in the service area allow high school students to attend college classes at discounted rates. The collaboration between the South Conway County School District, the School Counts! initiative, and UACCM provides an opportunity for Conway County students to attend college classes at little to no cost.”

Larger universities with immense class sizes are often daunting, especially to high school students who are already fighting doubts about succeeding in a college-level course.

It is clear about how that anxiety goes away, as concurrent students immerse themselves in academic life.

“Enrolling in classes at UACCM allows high school students to become comfortable with being on a college campus and gives them the opportunity to start their college experience in a small campus setting,” Clark said. “They reap the benefits of receiving individual attention from instructors and learning in an atmosphere less intimidating than some larger university environments.”

Due to UACCM’s collaborations with industry leaders, concurrent students can gain a competitive edge when they enter the workforce. They learn technical skills necessary in today’s economy by training in laboratories stocked with the most up-to-date equipment and methods. They take advantage of gaining these skills—so some earn several certificates at different specialties.

But many concurrent students are getting a jumpstart on their way to a bachelor’s degree. They may even graduate from high school with their freshman and sophomore-level college classes completed and ready to enter upper-division courses. Researchers in a recent study have found links that community college students who later attend top universities are more likely to do better than first-time freshmen. The community college experience makes them only more prepared to enter the workforce or post-graduate education.

“This creates a positive impact for not only the student and their family, but also for both the community and the economy,” Clark said.

Here are the concurrent graduates, high school, and awarded degrees:

Hannah Dunlap, Morrilton High School: Certificate of General Studies 

William Jenkins, Conway High School: Certificate of Proficiency in Welding

Gavin McCulley, Morrilton High School: Technical Certificate in Computer Information Systems; Certificate of Proficiency in CIS - Computer Maintenance; and Certificate of Proficiency in CIS - Networking Technology
 
Bryan Pendergraft, Faulkner County Homeschool: Associate of Science in Business

Katelyn Thomason, South Side Bee Branch High School: Certificate of General Studies

Casey Whitener, Morrilton High School: Technical Certificate in Computer Information Systems; and Certificate of Proficiency in CIS - Networking Technology

Samuel Flowers, Nemo Vista High School: Certificate of General Studies

Peyton Freeman, Nemo Vista High School: Technical Certificate in Welding; and Certificate of Proficiency in Welding

Comments

  1. Garrett Pendergraft, pictured here with Bryan, graduated with his Associate of Science in Business graduated as a junior in high school.

    ReplyDelete

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