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While most seniors still have one semester left until graduation, Central High School senior Sidney Thornton has already earned her high school diploma, as well as her associate’s degree in science with Summa Cum Laude honors from Central Alabama Community College (CACC).
Sidney started taking dual enrollment classes at CACC in the summer of her freshman year and has continued every semester, including summer semesters when most students are taking a break from school. Each semester Sidney took the maximum load of three classes allowed for a dual enrolled student.
This was ideal for Sidney who remained very active in both athletics and clubs at Central High School (CHS). As a younger dual enrolled student, Sidney initially took classes online at CACC until she was able to drive to campus.
Sidney has already been accepted to the University of South Alabama and has applied to its competitive program of radiologic science. Sidney plans to earn her certification in computed tomography and radiation therapy. Her end goal is to be a dosimetrist, which is a medical professional who helps create cancer patient treatment plans in consultation with other members of the oncology team.
Sidney has completed all the pre-requisites for the program and is now working and saving money to start her fall semester at the University of South Alabama.
Sidney stated, “I am very appreciative of the dual enrollment program offered to students at Central High School because it has allowed me to cut my post-secondary education costs in half. My parents only had to pay for a few classes and books in order for me to earn my associates degree. In addition, it has reduced the amount of time it will take me to receive my bachelor’s degree.”
While most students spend at least four years after graduating high school to earn their bachelor’s degree, Sidney will likely complete her degree in two years with her associate degree already behind her.
Sidney added, “I would like to encourage other CHS students to try dual enrollment classes if they are interested in pursuing higher education. The teachers and staff at CHS have been very supportive throughout this journey. Mrs. White, Mrs. Stover and Mrs. Wood were instrumental in my success and were always willing to provide guidance and assistance when I needed it. Being active in sports, student government and clubs at CHS allowed me to be active at both campuses and continue to have the high school experience. I have always strived to represent my family, my church, my school, and my community well.”
We are very proud of Sidney’s accomplishment and the inspiration she provides to our younger students. We are also very thankful that the students at CHS have a choice of which path they would like to pursue when earning their high school degree. Beyond the traditional path of in-person learning, students who meet the requirements can earn their high school diploma through our virtual program, our dual enrollment program in partnership with Central Alabama Community College, or a combination of the various programs at no additional cost to the student. We strive to offer flexibility, choice and opportunities to our students who have different needs and desires.
We look forward to sharing information on the multiple other Central High School seniors who will be earning both their high school diploma and associate’s degree from CACC in May.