Ten Whale Branch Early College High School seniors picked up their high school diplomas Wednesday, June 5 having already earned two years of college course credits.
The students took advantage of a partnership with the Technical College of the Lowcountry that allows Whale Branch students to take college courses – and earn two-year associate’s degrees – while still in high school at no cost to themselves or their parents.
The TCL degree represents a two-year head-start as the students work toward earning a Bachelor’s degree or entering the workforce.
Five Whale Branch seniors actually earned “double” TCL associate’s degrees in both Arts and Science. They are Nathan Everly, Jakhiya McKee, Allie Rodgers, Christopher Sanders, and Tamira Singleton.
Five seniors earned associate’s degrees in Arts. They are Jaren Anthony Cantorna, Tynaysia Evans, Hezekiah Jackson, Kalen Stokes, and Nia Sutton.
Nine other seniors will graduate from Whale Branch on June 5 with college certificates for completing significant college-level coursework at TCL: Carlos Cave, Keona Dopson, Jamari Evans, Jaheem Hazel, Isayra Leija Hernandez, Christopher Lyons, Trevaughn Nelson, Marion Smalls and Stephen Triplett.
The joint WBECHS-TCL initiative is completing its eighth year. While any district student can take college-level courses at TCL, Whale Branch’s instructional program is built around its TCL partnership. Eighteen percent of this year’s graduates completed college classes and earned college credits.
“Whale Branch’s early college program gives students the ability to earn a four-year college degree in just two years,” said Interim Superintendent Herb Berg. “That represents a tremendous financial advantage for students and their families.”
Brooke Everly, who graduated from Whale Branch in 2016 with double associates degrees from TCL, went on to graduate from The Citadel in 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, then graduated from The Citadel Graduate College on May 4 with a Master’s in Arts Degree in Biology.
College courses are offered on site at Whale Branch, and students (as early as Grade 9 if they qualify) have the option of taking additional courses at the TCL campus. Among some of the most popular college courses are Probability and Statistics, College Algebra, Western Civilization and English Composition I.
From left, Jakhiya McKee, Tamira Singleton, Christopher Sanders, Allie Rodgers, Nathan Everly