On Thursday, June 18, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) President Dr. Anne M. Kress served as the keynote speaker for the Arlington Career Center’s (ACC) graduation ceremony recognizing the class of 2021 – the first class of dual enrollment graduates. During the ceremony, 99 ACC graduates accepted their high school diplomas and the 14 dual enrollment students were also awarded general education certificates. Seven of the dual enrollment students also earned an associate’s degree.
During the ceremony, Dr. Kress touched on the ACC students' dedication, stating “Some of you have already earned an associate’s degree. I want to double congratulate these amazing NOVA Nighthawk grads here. Some of you are joining us in the fall and have already received college credits that you’ve earned for free because you’re so smart.”
Kress further talked about the students’ bright futures, saying, “This year you have developed superpowers. We have names for them: creativity, flexibility, persistence, perseverance. These are superpowers. You have developed superpowers. That is what got you here tonight.”
ACC specializes as the only Career and Technical Education (CTE) center for Arlington Public Schools, offering 24 unique CTE programs. Many of the programs and academic courses are dual enrollment programs, which allow students to get a jumpstart to earning college credits. The offer national- and state-approved industry credentialing tests which are certified. Further, Program for Employment Preparedness ‘PEP’ and other program-specific internship opportunities provide students with invaluable real-life work experiences.
The seven dual ACC-NOVA students who earned general education certificates are: Carole French (plans to attend JMU with honors), Sheereen Khan (plans to attend NOVA), Kelly Melnick (plans to attend William & Mary), Sam Muzinski (plans to attend Virginia Tech), Liam Norman (plans to attend Harvard), Talia Penn (plans to attend Duke) and Emilio Tognelli (who plans to attend Virginia Tech).
The seven dual ACC-NOVA students who earned general education certificates as well as their associate of science degree in computer science are: Shushan Barua, Adrian Buchholz, Francesco Crisafulli (plans to attend Virginia Tech), Abby Dhakal (plans to attend UVA), Conor Edwards, Charles Male, (plans to attend VMI) and Peter Yuan (plans to attend GMU).
“I am so unbelievably proud of my students’ perseverance, dedication and their advocacy,” said Margaret Chung, principal of ACC. “More than half of our students advocated for getting the associate’s degree and adding more classes for this to be possible. We listened to our students, as it was something that they wanted. They worked so hard; they took classes over the summer. They made sure they got this associate’s degree.”
With these credentials and degrees, NOVA dual enrolled students have the option to enter directly into the workforce, as well as pursue transfer initiatives to come in ahead of peers their age.
“What a joy it has been to work with these students,” said Jeff Elkner, computer science teacher at ACC. “Seven students are getting their associates degree in computer science. I worked with them for three years. I feel so proud of them. We have a hands-on project-based learning approach. Our students are both higher ed ready and career ready.”
NOVA congratulates the Arlington Career Center class of 2021, as well as all high school graduates across the nation.
For those interested in furthering their education or career prospects through the Dual Enrollment program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.