First Posted: 5/26/2009
DOBSON Kasi Freeman is a Surry Community College graduate as of May 14.
This news in itself is unexceptional. However, Freeman has yet to receive her high school diploma. She is set to graduate from Surry Central High School June 12.
The summer she turned 16, Freeman began taking classes at SCC using both classes at the college and online courses to suit her schedule. Once school started again in the fall, she continued to take an average four classes with the college and at least two classes at high school. She worked with her counselor to build her high school schedule around her college one to ensure she could get all of the classes she needed.
When Freeman walked across the stage at Temple Baptist Church, claiming an associate in arts degree, she had completed 65 credit hours at the college. However, the school will have to mail her diploma to her because they cannot issue it until she is a high school graduate.
In order to complete this feat, Freeman said she had to be organized and plan ahead. She applied to the North Carolina School of Science and Math as a sophomore and when she did not get in, her mom suggested she look into taking college classes in her free time.
She took the idea and ran with it.
I think it was worth it. It saved a lot of money, she said of the experience. I can go to college and not worry about any of the prerequisites.
Freeman had a great deal of help from others in accomplishing this. Her counselor in particular worked with her to pick out the right classes and plan a feasible schedule. She even worked with the school to be able to complete her internship this semester after school or at night instead of during the school day as is traditional. She has been working at Hugh-Chatham Memorial Hospital in the radiation department.
Heading to college as a high school student was not as big a difference as expected, but she believes that has to do with the fact that she was at a community college. She could still live at home and was not around the same people all of the time.
Everybody was surprised I was in there, she said of her college classmates finding out she was a high school student. There was more freedom and the teachers didnt tell you what to do all the time or when to do it. It just opens you up to the different types of people there are. You learn to be more tolerant of people.
Freeman was able to complete all of the prerequisites to transfer into Western Carolina Universitys nursing program as a junior this fall. She has known since she started high school that she wanted to be a nurse and has recently decided she wants to work with cancer patients. She is enrolled in a certified nursing assistant program which should end in the next week, allowing her to do more work in her field over the summer.
While she has been busy with classes, she does not feel that she missed out on any of the high school experiences. She did miss homeroom most days, meaning she did not get to hear the daily announcements, but feels she did not miss anything else.
I got to do everything else. I had time for my friends and to just hang out, she said. Theyre all surprised but they all say theyre proud of me. They saw how hard I worked and theyre glad to see it all worked out.
In addition to attending two schools, Freeman also works at Daniel Boone Barbecue on the weekends, is a member of the National Honor Society and keeps score at wrestling matches.
Though this path worked for Freeman, she said it is not for everyone.
Just make sure youre motivated and sure you want to do that. You cant not put your all into it, she said. Its difficult but its not impossible. Its fun and worth it in the end.
Freeman was able to complete this program because of the availability of dual enrollment in the area school systems. Because of the partnership with Surry Community College, she was able to attend classes for much less than she would pay at a university.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.