High school senior will enter college as sophomore | People
Sara Spurlock is not your typical teenager. Currently a senior attending Galatia High School, she is quickly becoming a college sophomore.
Just how does one skip the freshman year of college before graduating from high school? Spurlock is among a special group of high school kids known as “dual-credit” students enrolled in Southeastern Illinois College’s Early College Program.
By spring graduation, Spurlock will have earned enough college credits at Southeastern to be classified as a college sophomore.
“Dual credit is an instructional arrangement where an academically qualified student currently enrolled in high school enrolls in a college-level course and, upon successful course completion, concurrently earns both college credit and high school credit,” according the Illinois Community College Board.
Prior to her high school graduation next May, Spurlock will have completed such college courses as Introduction to Early Childhood Education, Child Development, Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid, Introduction to Psychology, Spanish I & II, and Rhetoric & Composition I & II. She also has been a participant in SIC’s summer honors program, which allows gifted high school students to attend classes on campus between school years.
Although her major is technically “undecided,” Spurlock is leaning heavily toward a degree and career in early childhood development, with possibly a side job in gemology. “Along with my love for children, I have always loved the study of rare gems and stones,” she expressed.
“Although my career path may lead me to an advanced degree in child development, my passion for high end jewelry and a dream to one day become a certified bench jeweler with credentials from the Gemological Institute of America will always be with me,” she added.
After graduating from a university with her bachelor’s degree, Spurlock plans to work as an educator for a pre-k academy in one of the nation’s larger cities. She is currently working on a two-year associate in applied science degree at SIC.
“One of the cool things about taking college classes as a high school student is that I get to be involved in a truly hands-on approach to teaching and interacting with children while I’m learning from highly qualified educators,” said Spurlock. “And I get to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in only three years!” she added.
Last semester, Spurlock took English Rhetoric & Composition I and Early Childhood Development at SIC. According to Archie Blair, Spurlock’s English instructor at the College, dual-credit students blend in nicely with the higher ed. population. “Sara’s maturity and skill level in writing place her among the top students in my English classes,” says Blair, adding that “she is one of the most highly motivated students he has taught.”
Nancy Reach, Coordinator of Southeastern’s Mary Jo Oldham Center for Child Study, has wonderful things to say about Spurlock. “Sara is a model student. She is compassionate, kind, and a great role model for our pre-k students. She completes tasks the pre-k teachers assign and goes above and beyond their expectations,” said Reach, adding that “we feel very fortunate to have a student such as Sara in our program.”
Dr. Dana Keating, SIC’s Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, indicated that Spurlock represents the exceptional high school student in the College’s district. “The Early College Program provides a wonderful opportunity for capable students to get a head start on a college degree and save thousands of tuition dollars in the process,” expressed Keating. “Sara is a perfect example, and just one of many, of how this program benefits students and their families.”