16 Local Students Graduate from SFC Before Earning their High School Diplomas

(GAINESVILLE) — Sixteen Alachua County students jump started their futures by completing their associate’s degrees from Santa Fe College several weeks before earning their high school diplomas.

The High School Dual Enrollment (HSDE) program allows high school juniors and seniors to attend college for free. Classes at Santa Fe satisfy both high school and college credit and count toward Bright Futures scholarships — a boon for family budgets in these tough economic times.

The dual enrolled students come from high schools across the county and their majors are as diverse as pre-med and pre-dental to forensic science and philosophy, but they all have in common the maturity and drive to enter college well before their peers. Students can choose to enroll in HSDE full- or part-time, completing an associate’s degree or several college courses.

Katlynn Short, 18, dual enrolled from Santa Fe High School in Alachua.

“It was the best decision of my entire life,” said Short, who graduated with honors from Santa Fe. “I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything. I went to both my proms and kept in touch with everyone.”

In August, she’s moving to Orlando to attend UCF where she plans to complete a bachelor’s degree in elementary education to become certified to teach grades K-5. Her educational goal is to complete a master’s degree in administration and then return to teach at Alachua Elementary School — the same school she went to as girl. She has her sights on becoming a principal.

“I pretty much have it all planned out,” Short said.

For highly motivated students who know what they want to do, HSDE can be a good fit. That was the case for Lori Marshall’s daughter Victoria.

“Victoria is on track for psychology,” said Marshall. “She wants to go into criminology. Right from her freshman year [at Buchholz], that’s what she decided.”

Victoria and her twin sister, Jessika Marshall, 18, dual enrolled together at the start of their their junior year at Buchholz High School. Both will attend UCF; both are planning to major in psychology. (Jessika will graduate with her associate’s degree in August.)

“I liked dual enrollment because I feel more prepared going into college and it gave me a better opportunity to do things,” said Victoria.

Emily Monte de Oca, 17, followed a different track. She dual enrolled as a Gainesville High School student and took respiratory therapy classes at Santa Fe. She graduated in May as a respiratory care assistant and was offered a job at Shands Hospital while completing her clinical rotation there. She starts working later this month.

“Dual enrollment helped me in a lot of ways,” she said. “I was the first one in my family to go to college. Not everyone has the money to go to school. This helps so much — letting you know who you are and what you want to do. It gives you a lot of opportunities and helps you to become a well-rounded individual.”

Like the Marhsall twins, Brooke Bostic also dual enrolled from Buchholz. She majored in accounting, was an Honors graduate and member of Phi Theta Kappa. Bostic was named to the 2009 Santa Fe High School Hall of Fame, the highest honor possible for a Santa Fe student. Just one tenth of 1 percent of students are chosen – not bad for a young woman of 17. Bostic was also ranked in the top 10 percent of her high school graduating class.

Bostic comes from a single parent household and is the first member of her family to earn a college degree. Her older brother, Tré, was 19 and attending Santa Fe when he died in 2008 of a heart defect. Brooke turned her brother’s death into motivation to be an outstanding student and go for her dreams. He had encouraged her to apply as a full-time HSDE student before his death.

In addition to her academic achievements, Bostic has also racked up an extensive community service record. She prepared care packages for soldiers in Iraq, raised money for the March of Dimes, volunteered at the VA hospital, provided baby items for the Stork’s Nest, and assisted at a group home for handicapped individuals. She has also participated in toy drives for children at Shands Hospital and volunteered as a math tutor at Santa Fe.

Bostic was accepted at several universities and had decided to attend the University of Florida.

“Brooke is a remarkable young woman who can accomplish any goal she sets out to achieve,” said Linda Lanza-Kaduce, director of the High School Dual Enrollment program.

Lanza-Kaduce says High School Dual Enrollment represents a dynamic partnership between Santa Fe and the School Board of Alachua County.

“The two institutions really work together to make this such a great opportunity,” she said.

HSDE students can work toward thier high school diploma, take classes to prepare for college-level work, start on an AA or AS degree or, if they are good with their hands, earn a certificate in one of Santa Fe’s technology areas. Dual enrollment counselors guide students through the program and selecting the right combination of high school, college prep, and college classes.

For more information about the SFC Dual Enrollment, please call 395-5490. To visit the program online go to: http://dept.sfcollege.edu/hsde/

Spring 2009 SFC HSDE graduates include:

  • Marissa Black – Honors – Business Administration at UF
  • Brooke Bostic – Honors and PTK – Accounting – UF
  • Rachel Michele Brunges – Elementary Education – UF
  • Deanna Christian – Forensic Science – UCF
  • Michael Alan Gray – Music – Undecided
  • Inbal Guelmann – Honors – Food & Human Nutrition – Dentistry – UF
  • Kendall N. Hale – Food and Resource Economics – UF
  • Erica N. Hoffman – English – UCF
  • Cory Marsh – Honors – Philosophy/Math – UF
  • Victoria June Marshall – Psychology – UCF
  • Sarah Mauldin – Honors – English – UF
  • Emily Montes de Oca – Respiratory Therapy
  • Sally Rose Privette – Honors- Telecommunications – UF
  • Kaytlynn Short – Honors – Elementary Education – UCF
  • Chloe Shoucair – Honors – Animal Science – UF
  • Sarah Jane York – Honors – Pre-Med – UCF

CONTACT:

Students are from high schools in Gainesville, Alachua and Newberry; please call for contact information if you are interested in doing a story

Visit the HSDE program online at: http://dept.sfcollege.edu/hsde/