Aaron Toland | Staff Writer
After four years of hard work, many students will now be able to earn a degree: an associate’s degree that is. Tonight, the school’s Early College program will hold a recognition night for the class of 2019 in the auditorium. The program will honor the forty-two students who earned an associate’s degree from Vincennes University(VU) and the fifty-one students who earned their Statewide Transfer General Education Core(STGEC), which meets the general education requirements of all public Indiana universities.
Students felt that earning their associate’s degree was important because it would allow them to have a head start on their post secondary education.
Associate’s degree recipient Meghan Barber said, “For me, getting my associate’s degree was so important because I could get it at the high school where it cost less and it would help me get a head start in college.”
Fellow associate’s degree recipient Madison Watson said, “I would say that it was important to me because I wanted to get a head start for college and see what I was capable of.”
Earning an associate’s degree required students to overcome several hurdles.
The main challenge in earning this degree for Barber and Claire Endris was making the room in their schedules for the required VU classes.
“The biggest challenge of getting the associate’s degree was having to not take non-VU classes that I wanted to take,” Barber said. “Many of the dual credit classes I took were in junior and senior year, which made it especially difficult”.
Endris said, “The biggest challenge I came across was trying to cram all of the +VU classes I needed to take into my class schedule while making sure I would still end up with my associates degree when I graduated.”
Watson’s toughest challenge was the rigor of the dual credit courses themselves.
“The biggest challenge I have faced while earning my degree is that these courses require a lot of effort and work, so sometimes your motivation or effort can diminish at times,” Watson said.
Overcoming these academic and scheduling challenges and earning an associate’s degree will benefit these students in several ways.
Barber and Watson both feel that earning their associate’s degree and taking VU classes has prepared them for college.
“I think that by having this degree going into college, I will be more prepared for a college workload and the expectations that come with going to higher education,” Barber said.
“I think getting this degree in high school is very beneficial because it allows you to take college level courses in an environment that is more comfortable for you,” Watson said. “It helps prepare you for college, as well as give you options about what classes you can take that will most benefit your major.”
Endris thinks that her associate’s degree strengthened her as a student and will also give her the opportunity to have a head start on her post secondary education.
“I definitely think that earning my associates degree has opened up several opportunities to pursue my major faster; it has allowed me to get most of my general study courses out of the way that I otherwise would have to take if I was not in early college,” Endris said. “Earning my associate’s degree further strengthened my work ethic, expectations for academic success and my communication skills with others.”
The students being recognized tonight will join a multitude of students who have earned college degrees since Center Grove Early College program was started in 2011.