For Immediate Release:
May 7, 2007
Primary Media Contact:
Public Relations Specialist
MIDDLETOWN and WARRENTON, Va. – Ten Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) students are a step ahead of their high school peers. The students will receive their associate’s degree at LFCC’s Commencement ceremonies on May 11 and 12, 2007, before receiving their high school diploma in June.
This motivated group of young people participates in LFCC’s Dual Enrollment Program, which enables high school students the ability to take college-level classes that will apply for high school credit as well as college credit. Approximately 1,600 students from 20 high school and home-school programs are enrolled in the program for the 2006-07 school year.
Although most of the students did not set out to complete an associate’s degree before graduating from high school, after taking a few courses, the students enrolled in more courses each semester until most of them were attending full time.
“LFCC is a completely different atmosphere than high school. There are not a lot of distractions, and everyone is committed to learning,” said Monica Hamlin, a Clarke County resident who was 16 years old when she began attending the College. “Although I was the youngest in the classroom, I was always treated as an equal. I got a kick out of my fellow classmates’ expressions when they would find out how old I was.”
Monica’s twin brother, Tom, also appreciated the learning structure of college. “College classes seem to be more direct with less fluff,” he said. “I actually feel like I dodged a bullet by not having to go to high school.” The Hamlin twins will be attending Virginia Military Institute (VMI) this fall, where Monica will be majoring in English, and Tom will be majoring in computer science.
Caleb Gibson will also be attending VMI this fall, where he will be pursuing a degree in math. Relatively new to the area, Gibson moved to Warren County and began his freshman year of high school as a home school student. “I attended private school up until the eighth grade, when we moved,” he said. “I really didn’t like home school, so LFCC was a perfect alternative for me.”
Heather Gilley, a Clarke County resident, has similar feelings as Monica and Tom. “When I saw the opportunity to challenge myself, I took the chance,” said Gilley, who wanted to escape what she felt like was the immaturity of high school. “I wanted to get a head start on what I plan to do with the rest of my life.” Gilley plans to attend Virginia Tech this fall, where she will pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.
Jenkins Dove, a Rappahannock County resident, tried to enroll as a sophomore at his local high school after completing his freshman year as a home school student. However, after finding out that he would have to redo his freshman year, Dove enrolled at LFCC. “I really enjoy the variety of classes that are available, much more than the ones you get in high school,” said Dove, who is waiting to hear back from George Mason University and the University of Virginia, where he plans to pursue a degree in biology or pre-med.
Matthew Reges splits his time between James Wood High School and LFCC. At James Wood, Reges is very involved in the school’s musicals and plays. His love of theater is motivating him to pursue a minor in that area at the College of William and Mary, where he has been accepted into the honors program. “I think that the best part about attending LFCC is the wide mix of ages in the classroom. I specifically remember my ethics class, where I felt that the diversity of ages brought about more interesting discussions,” said Reges, a Frederick County resident who will be majoring in government this fall.
Margaret Hughes, a Loudoun County resident, has found that attending college while still in high school seems to give students a boost during job interviews. “I work with horses at three different barns. I think potential employers feel that I must be more responsible if I am enrolled in a college program.” Hughes has applied to Virginia Commonwealth University and Old Dominion University and will be pursuing a degree in fine arts or art history.
Hughes began attending LFCC, because her cousin, Julie Gaven, was already attending the College and thriving in the collegiate setting. “LFCC has given me the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people, learn from awesome professors and continue being actively involved in countless other extracurricular interests,” said Gaven, a Loudoun County resident. Among a long list of extracurricular activities, Gaven served as president of Alpha Beta Omega, the Middletown Campus chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges. After graduating from LFCC, she plans to transfer to James Madison University (JMU) to pursue a double major in English and communication sciences and disorders in JMU’s honors program. In addition, she plans to pursue a minor in musical theater or some other music, dance and/or acting-oriented performing arts program. Her long-range goal is to obtain a doctoral degree in speech-language pathology.
Ashton Burzio, a Clarke County resident, loves music and, throughout his time at Clarke County High School, has been involved in the marching band, indoor drumline, jazz band, concert band and percussion ensemble. Burzio will pursue his passion for music this fall at George Mason University (GMU), where he will double major in music education and business management. “Whether I teach music, play music or am just around music, it will be a facet of my career,” said Burzio, who has not yet determined a career choice. “I chose to participate in the Dual Enrollment Program so that I could get as many of my general education classes out of the way. Now, when I get to GMU, I can focus solely on classes that relate to my major. I feel that this will help me to obtain a firmer grasp of my core classes.”
One student, Danielle Shipman, will not be attending a higher education institution in Virginia. Shipman, a Clarke County resident, plans to attend a university in Barcelona, Spain. Shipman fell in love with Spain and the university she will be attending while touring the country with her 10th grade Spanish class. She will be taking a year off to obtain her visa and prepare for her study abroad. Shipman began participating in the Dual Enrollment Program thanks to her friend Heather Gilley. “You have to be committed to your classes if you are going to be a dual enrolled student, but I feel proud of what I have accomplished.” Shipman will be majoring in political science and language.
Founded in 1970, Lord Fairfax Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. LFCC offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. LFCC also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. LFCC serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.
Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Lord Fairfax Community College. Lord Fairfax Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. LFCC also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.