Haywood Community College

NEWS RELEASE

Contacts: Debra M. Davis, Diana S. Conard



185 Freedlander Drive



Clyde, NC 28721



828-627-4521 Fax: 828-627-1218

Date: 11-7-06

For immediate release.

HAYWOOD EARLY COLLEGE STUDENTS SETTLE IN ON HCC CAMPUS

As students at Haywood County's newest high school are starting to settle in, they are finding something they all like about the experience at Haywood Early College-smaller classes. It's a sentiment that is echoed throughout the student body.

"I like the smaller classes," HEC student Leanna Jones says. "It's easier to pay attention and ask questions. And you get to know the students more than if it was a larger class." Jones acknowledges that the college courses require more work, "but you must have the ability to set goals just like in life."

HEC student Samantha Gibson agrees. "With the smaller classes, you don't have cliques or groups like in other high schools. You talk to everyone." Gibson chose to attend HEC because her two older siblings didn't finish high school and she is determined to reach that goal. She says she enjoys the jump-start on what college will be like.

HEC Dean, Dr. Doris Hipps, concedes that smaller class size is a benefit not available in traditional high schools. "High school is now depersonalized," she explains. "Through this personal attention, we are able to build relationships. We get to know the students very well. They have a voice here and are heard."

This year, HEC has 55 students. Next year, up to 72 students can be accepted. Dr. Hipps realizes this experience is not for everyone. "We plan to visit all middle schools early next year to educate them about HEC. We work hard to determine what kids would be successful in a program of this kind. A star athlete or someone really interested in the band would probably not do as well."

A new component to be integrated in HEC next year will be community involvement. Students will work within the community in their field of interest for an experience comparable to job shadowing.

When students complete their time at HEC, they will leave with a high school diploma and a two-year degree. "Like all Huskins-type classes, HEC classes are tuition free," explains Dr. Janice Gilliam, HCC Vice President of Student Services and Transitional Programs. "The purpose of HEC is to increase the college going rate and decrease the drop out rate."

Plans are also underway for HEC representatives to speak at community meetings and PTO meetings.

Current HEC students have tried and true advice for those interested in the experience next year. "You must focus on your studies and know study skills," advises HEC student Lauren Williamson. "You must stay dedicated. The classes are harder but there is more understanding between students and teachers."

For Joey Pelletier, HEC is a place where you can be your own person without influences from lots of different groups. "There's more teacher per student time but you still have to take this experience very seriously and really try."

For more information about Haywood Early College or the application process for next year, please call the Haywood County School System Office.

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(CUTLINE: ) (Diana Conard photo)

Haywood Early College students are getting use to life on the HCC campus. Shown are (front, l-r) Glenn Campbell and Joey Pelletier. (Back, l-r) Leanna Jones, Samantha Gibson and Lauren Williamson.