A person in graduation gear accepts a diploma
Valedictorian Mariah Waters accepts her diploma from BCECHS principal Emily Pake.

Beaufort County Early College High School celebrates Class of 2020

The Class of 2020 at Beaufort County Early College High School saw a unique ceremony this May. The most obvious difference from previous years was that only students and employees were present for the ceremony. The dual enrollment program, housed on the campus of Beaufort County Community College, saw 56 students presented with high school diplomas, 43 of whom also received associate's degrees through Beaufort County Community College.

Usually these students participate in a ceremony at BCECHS and in a larger one for all students of BCCC, but COVID-19 restrictions meant that both ceremonies looked very different than for previous classes. BCECHS staff had delivered yard signs to all graduates so that their families could express their pride for their student's success.

Graduates were recognized for different achievements at the ceremony. Those wearing gold cords had weighted grade point average of 4.0 or higher. Those with white cords had completed an associate’s degree. Twenty-one of the graduates had unweighted GPAs of 3.5 or higher. The North Carolina Scholars were Justin Adams, Alexander Carrick, Anna Everette, Charlotte Grimes, Phoenix Hall, Ariayana Harrell, Alex Lumbreras Rodriguez, Andrea Lumbreras, Monique Mercado, My-Kuz Moore, Savannah O'Brien, Lindsey Swain, Victoria Sykes, McKenna Taylor, Irvin Tellez Palacios, KaLynn Toler, Jazmin Vega-Gomez, Mariah Waters, Otha Whitney and Marrissa Woolard. Mariah Waters was the Class of 2020's valedictorian.

Dual enrollment students are becoming an increasingly larger part of the community college landscape. This year also saw the first graduating class from Washington County Early College High School. Kaylee Christenberry, Angel Santos Juarez, and Eileen Walo were the first graduates of the dual-enrollment program in Washington County that began three years ago. BCCC also partners with Columbia Early College High School and Mattamuskeet Early College High School, which held a drive-in ceremony for its students.

These students go to high school classes for their first two years, later transitioning to taking college classes just like any other college students on the BCCC campus. At the end of their five-year education, they earn a high school diploma, and most of them also earn an associate’s degree. BCECHS encourages its students to graduate with two associate's degrees. The high school ranked 12th in North Carolina for performance grade and growth last year. Lindsey Swain was the first student at the high school to complete the program in only three years.

BCCC wishes all the best to the early college students.