05-22-13-ftcc.gifOn the evening of May 10, 120 high school students reached a milestone in their educational journeys. From this group, students who chose to walk quietly took their places in line somewhere in the recesses of the Crown Coliseum. They straightened their graduation gowns and made sure that their tassels were hanging from the correct side of their mortarboard caps.

As the processional music began, the high school students entered the fl oor of the Crown and took their seats alongside roughly 1,000 other students. Collectively, this group of graduates prepared for their commencement not from high school, but from college. This was Fayetteville Technical Community College’s graduation ceremony.

One might be tempted to wonder how (and why) so many high school students were invited to participate in a college graduation ceremony. These young men and women were part of FTCC’s High School Connections program, which is designed to allow local students to take tuition-free college classes during their junior and/or senior years of high school. The high school students attending graduation had completed a full program of study at FTCC and were thus awarded a college certifi cate for their efforts. For a small handful of students, this was actually their second FTCC graduation; they had completed one certifi cate program as high school juniors, and then chose to tackle a second as seniors. These students should be commended for their hard work and dedication to their studies.

Through High School Connections, FTCC invites and encourages local public, private and home-school students to take college classes tuition-free. By taking advantage of the HSC program, students can often participate in programs that they might not otherwise be able to access. Not every school in the area can offer an award-winning culinary program or fi nd the resources needed to teach automotive and machining classes. Fayetteville Tech is also on the cutting edge of technology and offers several computer-based programs, such as information technology hardware/software, computer programming, graphic design and social media. Opportunities abound to get a jump-start on a career choice in fields like green sustainable architecture, criminal justice, infant/toddler care or fire protection technology.

Students can even choose to take college-transfer courses in order to fulfi ll some of their general education requirements for college. The list goes on and on; there truly is a program for just about everyone. Students who wish to participate in High School Connections for 2013-2014 must be rising juniors and seniors with a weighted GPA of approximately 3.0 (program requirements differ). As of May 10, there were nearly 500 students already signed up for next year, and many more will continue to enroll throughout the summer. Students and parents should visit the HSC website or “like” our Facebook page to learn more about enrollment procedures for the fall, including days and times of open registration.Please don’t miss out on your chance to earn free college credit in high school! We’ll see you and hundreds of other high school students at graduation 2014!

For more information, visit www.faytechcc.edu/highschool_connections/default.asp

Photo: Through High School Connections, FTCC invites and encourages local public, private and home-school students to take college classes tuition-free.

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