DUBLIN — In June, Ashli Miller Heustess, daughter of Kelli and Chuck Heustess, will become the first student in Bladen County to graduate with both a high school diploma and an Associate Degree from Bladen Community College. This coupling will allow Heustess to begin college in August as a junior.
Heustess, a high performing student at East Bladen High School, plans to attend Campbell University in the fall as a pre-pharmacy student. She has balanced an active lifestyle, played three sports, participated in clubs and activities, and maintained an impressively high grade point average.
“Miller has always displayed conscientious efforts to take advantage of every opportunity to get ahead academically,” remarks East Bladen High School teacher Michael Kendall. “I remember her proclivity to dispatch assignments punctually and superbly.”
As a high school junior, Heustess took five college classes each semester.
“While a senior, I took four classes each semester,” she explains. “And between my junior and senior years, I took summer school classes.”
Adding college classes to her high school experience seemed daunting at first. “I thought I was going to hate myself for doing this,” laughs Heustess. “I am very active, and I worried about my GPA.”
But the venture was not as intimidating as she expected. “I am so glad I did it,” she remarks. “Now I am going to college far more prepared.”
Although Heustess may have felt overwhelmed by the undertaking, the faculty at EBHS never doubted her.
English instructor Anita Willington describes Heustess as ‘brains, beauty and athletic prowess!’ She continues, “When it comes to Miller, it is simply the truth!”
Bladen Community College is committed to offering college courses to high school juniors and seniors, and providing multiple opportunities for students to
experience the college academic life. Cierra Griffin serves as a dedicated liaison between area high school students and BCC.
Griffin encourages high school students to take at least one college level class while they are still in high school. Not only does the class transfer for college credit, it saves money for the student, and provides a taste of what college work will involve.
“Many times people think that courses at the community college level are not as intense as those offered at four year institutions,” remarks Griffin, “but that kind of thinking can have students in for an awakening. Fortunately, Miller entered the program knowing that our courses are equivalent to any four year institution; therefore, she dedicated her time and effort, which in turn earned her a two year degree.”
The college transfer program offers associate degrees in art and science. Students work at their own pace under the guidance of advisors and counselors.
Griffin states, “The College Transfer Pathway provides students with the opportunity to take college classes that will not only transfer to the high school as honors credit and can be applied to graduation requirements, but will also transfer to any of the 16 state universities and some private schools in North Carolina.”
For more information about the College Transfer Pathway at Bladen Community College, call Cierra Griffin at 910 879-5570.
Cathy Kinlaw is the public information officer at Bladen Community College.