Students receive dual degrees

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Twenty seniors at Pike County High School will graduate on May 24 with dual degrees.

The seniors will receive a high school diploma from PCHS and an associate degree in applied science with a concentration in accounting from Enterprise State Community College.

“This is the first group from the Academy of Business and Finance to receive a dual degree and we are extremely proud of them,” said Willie Wright, PCHS principal. “Offering the dual degree is an opportunity for our kids to graduate with college credits and it sets them apart. We were blessed with a group of dedicated and hard working kids.”

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Wright said earning a dual degree is not easy.

“But it taught the students a lot of life lessons,” he said. “They learned that if you work hard, you can achieve. They are a group of fine young men and women and they are prepared for the future.”

Sharon Denison, Academy director, said that several of the students have completed the comprehensive exams and the others will take their final comprehensives today.

“They have all worked extremely hard preparing for the comprehensives,” she said. “When they finish, they can breathe for the first time in a while.”

Katie Powell, who will attend the University of Alabama in pursuit of degree in nursing, said that enrollment in the Academy of Business and Finance is not an easy road to travel but it is the path to where she wants to go.

“It’s been tough,” she said. “It’s all about numbers and when things balance, you feel happy.”

The 20 students who will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree from Enterprise State Community College agreed that all of the midnight oil they have burned was well worth the effort.

“You can’t let the stress get to you,” Ken Reynolds said. “You just have to keep working and know that the outcome will be worth it all.”

The Pike County Academy of Business and Finance is open to juniors who have completed the pre-requisite courses, have a 2.5 GPA and have received the recommendations of faculty members

Courses of study include Accounting I and II, taxes, personal finance, law, economics, finite math and microcomputer applications.

“Students who earn the associate degree in applied science with a concentration in accounting are very involved in their studies,” Denison said. “In addition to their regular classes and dual enrollment, they take online classes and weekend classes at ESCC and complete 60 hours of community service.”

“And, not anything is given to you,” Reynolds said, laughing.

The dual enrollment students have all been accepted to the colleges of their choice or are entering the military.

“These students have been together for two years and they are like family,” Denison said. “They have been through a lot together and supported and encouraged each other. We are proud of all of them and what they have accomplished.”