image of Nicole PlankNicole Plank is not your average high school student. This spring, Nicole will be graduating from Rowan County Senior High School with her high school diploma. After she walks across the stage, she will attend the Maysville Community and Technical College commencement ceremonies to receive her Associate in Science degree. The Early College pilot program at RCSHS, along with continuous hard work, has afforded Nicole this opportunity.

RCSHS Principal Ray Ginter started the Early College program, which allows students who are accepted into the program to complete junior and senior level classes during the summer following their sophomore year. Plank and five other students selected for the pilot, worked diligently in the library from 8:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. every day to prepare for full-time college enrollment in August.

After the necessary pre-requisite classes were completed, the high school juniors began their full-time college careers. Three of the selected students went to MSU and the other three enrolled full-time at Maysville Community and Technical College.

This program creates so many opportunities, shared Plank. The more opportunities you take advantage of, the more paths open up for you. Nicole has maintained a 4.0 GPA as a college student and gives tribute to the helpfulness and support from RCSHS and MCTC faculty and staff.

Nicole continues to be actively involved in high school activities. She plays for the Lady Vikings basketball, soccer, track, cross country and archery teams. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and a member of the MCTC chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.

When asked about her future college plans, Nicole expressed an interest in transferring to a four-year college to study sports medicine or physical therapy. She still has not decided which college to attend, but has several options on the table. With two years of college under her belt, a determined Plank claims, There are so many options right now, I just need to decide which is best for me.

The opportunity for high school students to take dual credit classes provides a jumpstart to their post-secondary education, said Billie Barbour, Director of External Educational Programs with Maysville Community and Technical College. Not only does it give students an introduction to college but also offers students college credit at a tremendously discounted tuition rate.

The amount of money saved, in addition to earning college credit while in high school, is a win-win opportunity for Rowan County Senior High School students. To learn more about dual-credit college opportunities at RCSHS, call Mrs. Barbour at (606) 759-7141, ext. 66182 or email.