By Jackson French BG Daily News April 16, 2016
In May, Morgan Askins, a Warren Central High School student, will become the first in the Warren County Public Schools district to graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree.
Askins degree from Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College is the result of her involvement in dual-credit courses, she said.
When she was signing up for the classes she d take during the second semester of her junior year, a flier saying that students could get an associate degree in two years piqued her interest in earning the degree, she said.
One person said, No, you probably can t do it in two years, and then I saw on Facebook where there was a kid who had done it and I thought, well if he can do it and they told me I can t, then I have to prove them wrong, Askins said.
Having only taken one dual-credit course the prior semester, Askins had to cram 18 dual-credit classes and one advanced placement course into the next three semesters to get the 60 hours of credit needed for the degree.
Regina Sullivan, a guidance counselor at Warren Central, said Askins is involved with the district s College Academy, a program that pays for half of a participating student s dual-credit courses.
Western Kentucky University s dual-credit courses cost $210 apiece. SKYCTC s cost $155 if taken at the college s campus and $50 if they re held at the high school, according to officials from both universities.
The program makes these classes more affordable for students families
while keeping the student financially invested in scoring credit, Sullivan said.
It s not uncommon for our students to graduate with 20 to 30 hours of college credit, she said.
As students and parents have realized these classes save money on college tuition, the program has grown more popular. It just continues to grow each year, she said, adding that she hopes this trend continues in the future.
District assessment coordinator Cindy Beals said the district started offering dual-credit courses in the early 2000s, and the number of classes offered has been expanding ever since.
It started growing, she said. Students were demanding more and more of them.
Dual-credit and AP courses are more rigorous than regular high school classes, which is beneficial for students, she said.
Any time you take a more rigorous class, it s making you think more, Beals said, adding that it better prepares them for college as well.
The road to an associate degree hasn t been easy, Askins said.
It s very difficult, and I don t have lots of free time, she said. I stay up late and I get up early.
The coursework itself, though it demands a lot of time, hasn t been too strenuous in terms of difficulty, Askins said. As long as I keep up on my homework and my projects and have them ready to turn in, I don t have any problems, she said.
She plans to attend WKU after high school to pursue a bachelor s degree in either agriculture business or animal science and is interested in pursuing a doctorate after that, Askins said.
My end goal was originally equine nutrition and research but anything in ag business and animal science is a goal, but the equine nutrition and research is probably my end dream, she said. Askins has been riding horses since she was 2 years old, which has informed her interested in equine science, she said.She will walk in SKYCTC s commencement as well as Warren Central s graduation ceremony.
I m a little bit nervous because they told me when I applied for graduation that they might make a big deal out of it, she said.
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