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image of student Sarah PurdySarah Purdy excels not only on the basketball court for the Rowan County Senior High School Lady Vikings but also as a full-time college student. This spring, Purdy plans to walk across the stage to receive a high school diploma, and then attend commencement ceremonies at Maysville Community and Technical College to receive an Associate in Science degree.

During her sophomore year, Purdy learned of a new and unique opportunity called the Early College program, a jumpstart initiative shaped by RCSHS principal Ray Ginter.

Upon acceptance into the piloted program, Purdy and five other classmates spent three weeks during the summer following their sophomore year working diligently to complete their junior and senior level pre-requisite classes. Their summer commitment afforded them the opportunity to become full time college students as they entered their junior year of high school.

Three of the program participants enrolled full-time at Morehead State University while the other three enrolled with Maysville Community and Technical College. The transition from high school to college was intimidating at first, but we got used to it as the semester went along, said Purdy.

Purdy has proven to be an excellent student at Maysville Community and Technical College (MCTC), maintaining a 4.0 GPA and tutoring fellow college students 20 hours per week. Sarah has accomplished all of the above while actively participating on her high school basketball team, Student Government Association, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the National Honor Society. In addition, she is a member of the MCTC Phi Theta Kappa student organization.

You have to give up things, you have to decide what is important to you, stated Purdy. I debated for a long time if this was the right path for me. A strong support system helped Purdy make the decision, My parents encouraged me to do it and I decided that my future and getting two years of college paid for was way more important.

When asked to reflect on her experience with the Early College program, Purdy said, Im so glad I did this, I wouldnt change a thing. Although she is undecided about her future college plans, opportunity is knocking on many doors for this bright and talented young woman. I want to be a doctor specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, said Purdy. Where I go depends on if I decide to continue to play basketball.

Offering college courses to high school students is not a new concept for Maysville Community and Technical College. We have many high school students that take college classes with us while they are in high school, stated Billie Barbour, MCTC Director of External Educational Programs. To see a student receive an associate degree upon high school graduation, however, is a rare accomplishment that takes a great deal of hard work and dedication.

Reduced tuition rates and schedule flexibility allows many high school students to take college classes at Maysville Community and Technical College, giving them a jumpstart on their college career. 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 and their students, said Barbour.

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