Two Whale Branch Early College High School seniors who will receive their high school diplomas Friday night have already completed their first two years of college.
James Michael Lucero Nito and Anne’sea Raegene Simmons took full advantage of a partnership with the Technical College of the Lowcountry that allows Whale Branch students to take college courses – and earn two-year associates degrees – while still in high school. That represents a two-year head-start as they begin work toward a Bachelor’s degree or enter the workforce.
Nito, valedictorian of Whale Branch’s Class of 2013, will attend Winthrop University on two scholarships to study computer programming. At the high school, he is a member of the National Honor Society, a Student Ambassador, student tutor and community service volunteer.
Simmons plans to attend Coastal Carolina University on multiple scholarships and with a career goal of becoming a pharmacist. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, a member of the varsity volleyball team, a Student Ambassador and community service volunteer.
Nito and Simmons were both recognized at recent TCL ceremonies as associate’s degree candidates in Arts and Science. In addition, four other Whale Branch seniors were recognized for completing significant college-level coursework at TCL: Kimberley Nicole Elliott (General Education Certificate and Liberal Arts Core Certificate), Xavier Laron Green-Pope (General Education Certificate), Trey Dion Nelson (Liberal Arts Core Certificate) and Madison Terann Summerill (General Education Certificate and Liberal Arts Core Certificate).
“It’s difficult to overstate the value of the Whale Branch-TCL partnership,” said Acting Superintendent Jackie Rosswurm. “For students, it’s an opportunity to accelerate their learning and earn college credits in high school. And for students and their parents, the big thing is earning those college credits without having to pay for them, in effect shortening the amount of time spent in college and saving a great deal of money.”