VIENNA —The month of May brings about great celebrations in the world of education. Like other graduating classes, Vienna High School’s class of 2013 will celebrate the scholarly achievements of its members, including two valedictorians, a salutatorian, eight four-year honor students, eight Illinois State Scholars and numerous scholarship recipients.
In addition to these achievements, there is a distinction that makes this class unique. Four students from VHS class of 2013 have not only completed their requirements for high school graduation, but they have also completed their associate degrees at Shawnee Community College.
Emmalee Anderson, Brandi McCuan, Keeley Harper and Andrew Williams will be among
the other college graduates
participating in SCC’s
graduation ceremony today, followed by their high
school graduation Saturday at VHS.
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“I am amazed at the outstanding accomplishments of our students here at Vienna,” VHS Curriculum Director Joshua Stafford said.
“We are similar to other rural areas of the state when it comes to funding and demographics, but the exception is our people. We have an outstanding staff, great students and parents, and a local community college this is truly student-centered and a good partner.”
Anderson set her sights on completing her associate’s degree at the end of her sophomore year, after some health related challenges prevented her from pursuing goals in athletics. Following graduation, she plans to attend Mid-Continent University to complete her bachelor’s degree in business with a minor in psychology.
McCuan started her sophomore year planning a career in the medical field. She quickly realized that it would take several years of college to attain this goal. So, she began working with the high school and college advisors to get enrolled in college coursework to reach her goals with less debt and in a shorter time period. After graduation, McCuan will serve in the Air Force and earn her bachelor’s degree in human science.
Harper has a passion for music and wanted to attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. To help reduce the cost of her education, she decided to complete her associate’s degree at SCC while still in high school. Harper has been accepted at Belmont University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in music business.
Williams has aspired to be a doctor of chiropractic since his junior year of high school. At the end of his sophomore year, he learned that VHS had several dual credit opportunities. Williams laid out a plan to finish two years of his eight-year college education while still in high school. He has been accepted at several universities to complete his undergraduate degree, prior to attending Logan College of Chiropractic.
Overall, VHS class of 2013 has collectively completed more than 2,000 hours toward their college degrees through the dual credit partnership with SCC. These hours have been earned not only through dual credit offerings at the high school, but also by students attending classes at the college, both online and at the colleges’ campuses.
Shawnee Community College President Tim Bellamey praised the students and the partnership between SCC and VHS.
“These students are to be commended for achieving this milestone,” Bellamey said. “This is very difficult to accomplish and requires tremendous dedication and effort. A strong dual enrollment partnership between SCC and VHS helped make this possible.”