image of Sarah ElamWhen you talk to Sarah Elam, you will observe instantly that she has a laid-back and easygoing spirit about her. However, as you really get to know her, you soon realize that under that soft-spoken voice and sweet smile lies a determined, unstoppable young woman. The RCSHS senior, along with classmates Nicole Plank and Sarah Purdy, will earn an Associate in Science degree from Maysville Community and Technical College, immediately following high school graduation this spring.

During her sophomore year, Elam applied to participate in a piloted program called the Rowan County Early College Academy, developed by administrators and RCSHS Principal Dr. Ray Ginter. Our vision is to provide the best, and most rigorous, education to our students, stated Ginter. Often times, our resources are spent trying to give interventions to students who have fallen behind throughout the educational process.

Students accepted into the program worked on their junior and senior level required classes during the summer months following their sophomore year. When adopted, our administrative team saw the Rowan County Early College Academy as an avenue to help students seek a more rigorous curriculum, said Ginter. While doing so, students accrue college credit as well as high school credit. An excited Elam received notification of her acceptance into the program and went straight to work.

While her classmates were enjoying their summer break, Elam, along with five others, worked every day for nearly a month preparing for college; an experience that would change their lives. What would have been the beginning of their junior year became the beginning of their college career and all six RCSHS students enrolled in college full-time. Elam, Purdy and Plank enrolled at Maysville Community and Technical College. The other three went to MSU.

We have worked really hard at this, says Elam. You get out of the experience what you put into it. Elam resides in Morgan County and commutes daily to Morehead. She has excelled in her college classes at MCTC, maintaining a 4.0 GPA, and has continued to stay involved in high school activities and clubs. Sarah is a member of the RCSHS Speechamp; Debate team and recently went to Washington D.C. for a National Speech Tournament. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America and the MCTC chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.

The program has allowed these young women the perks of being a high school student, by being involved in sports activities, attending school dances, etc., while giving them the challenge of college course work, stated Ginter.

Sarahs plans are to attend Morehead State University and major in nursing. Because she has completed the necessary pre-requisite courses for MSUs nursing program at MCTC, Sarah will be able to apply for admission to the program in March. I would like to continue my education and become a Nurse Practitioner, said Elam. And, possibly pursue a doctoral degree.

Maysville Community and Technical College has been offering dual-credit college classes to high school students for many years. Students that take advantage of the MCTC dual-credit opportunities have a jumpstart on their college career, stated Billie Barbour, Director of External Educational Programs at MCTC. Not only do they graduate with college credits under their belts, they receive a discounted tuition rate which saves them a great deal of money in the long run.

To learn more about MCTC dual-credit college opportunities, call Billie Barbour at (606) 759-7141, ext. 66182 or email Billie Barbour.