Also during its meeting Thursday night, the Forsyth County Board of Education approved its meeting calendar for 2013, which looks similar to the 2012 calendar. All meetings will be held on Thursdays. The eight work sessions will begin at 4 p.m., with the 12 regular meetings set for 6 p.m.
— Jennifer Sami
When Molly Quade walks across the stage to accept her North Forsyth High School diploma in May, she’ll have two years of college under her belt.
That’s because she, along with a handful of other juniors and seniors, are taking advantage of the dual enrollment program offered to Forsyth County high school students.
“The best decision I ever made was probably dual enrolling,” Quade told the Forsyth County school board Thursday during a presentation on the program’s progress.
Quade admitted it has been “difficult to actually apply yourself to do the work.” In the end, however, she is spending her senior year as a student at Gainesville State College and will be two years closer to her goal of becoming a pediatric nurse.
Valery Hall, the system governance and career development coordinator for the district, said the program is not for everyone. There are two tracks — academic and technical career.
For example, students interested in attending an Ivy League college may not be able to transfer credits earned through dual enrollment, so the international baccalaureate program could be a better fit.
“It’s a lot of figuring out where the students are heading next and what’s going to work for them personally,” Hall said. “Our counselors do a fantastic job of letting our students know that these options are possible.”
The dual enrollment program awards both high school and college credit; students still earn their high school diploma.
According to Hall, there are about 150 Forsyth students enrolled at their high school and an area college.
Those colleges included Gainesville State, Lanier Technical, Georgia Institute of Technology, North Georgia, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Georgia Perimeter and Middle Georgia.
Maribel Aguilera, a South Forsyth senior, said she spends much of her week at Lanier Tech, where she’s taking three classes.
She initially thought about majoring in criminal justice, but instead plans to attend Brenau University to become a registered nurse.
Aguilera said the dual enrollment program is affordable and has “taught me study skills.” The program, as well as college credits from the five Advanced Placement courses she’s taken, will account for nearly two years of college.
Forsyth Central senior Emily Prins has nearly as many credits through dual enrollment at Gainesville State.
This time next year, Prins said she’s hopes to be at Mercer University, studying biology. Dual enrollment has helped her prepare for that goal.
According to Prins, it’s taught her “how to be in college before I have to go to college. In college, you have to put in so much extra at home.”
Board of Education Chairman Tom Cleveland, who himself skipped a year in school, said he was impressed with the students’ ambition and that the system’s program provides so many options.
“You’ll look back on those times [and be] glad you did that,” he told the students. “We shouldn’t hold you back when you’re ready.”