Jessie Allison received her Associates Degree from Somerset Community 
College President Dr. Carey Castle, as part of the Honors Day 
celebration at Wayne County.

    Wayne County High School 2019 graduate Jessie Allison will go down in school history for being Wayne County Schools' first student to receive a college associate's degree, at the same time she obtained her recent high school diploma.

    This milestone was recognized by the Wayne County Board of 
Education, as well as Wayne County High School at the close of the 
school year. Allison is a perfect example of how a non-traditional, 
very motivated student can push themselves to high levels.
    Her achievement is a dream of administrators that goes back four 
years ago when the early college facet of the Pathways Program was 
launched. The early college program is a perfect fit for families in 
Wayne County interested in the cost savings incurred when their 
children have to travel a considerable distance, paying for housing 
and all the long distance expenses at a university or college. The 
dual credit classes offered at the high school are less expensive and 
give students a leg up on the cost of a college education, perhaps 
keeping them from having to obtain student loans.
    Administrators from both Wayne County Schools and Somerset Community 
College celebrated her achievement because Allison made that dream 
come true by obtaining 60 hours of dual credit college classes. She 
earned an Associate's Degree from Somerset Community College, as a 
result of her efforts and dedication to her studies.
    She is among only a handful of students that have obtained an early 
college degree from Somerset Community College, in the last few 
years, by taking advantage of dual credit courses offered at the high 
school level.
    Dr. Carey Castle, president of Somerset Community College, offered 
his congratulations to the Wayne County student at the local Senior 
Honors Award Ceremony, after Wayne County Superintendent Wayne 
Roberts and Chief Academic Officer Brian Dishman had already 
congratulated Allison at a previous recognition ceremony.
    "Jessie is a great example of a student who has been successful with 
dual credit classes. She has proved that she is self-disciplined, 
responsible, highly motivated, and mature enough to handle both the 
academic and social aspects of college. She has accomplished a major 
milestone in her college education all while enrolled in high school. 
She has a huge head start whether she wants to continue her education 
or go straight into the workforce," said Dr. Castle, during the Wayne 
County High School Honors Night Program.
    "Jessie, I congratulate you on a job well done," said Dr. Castle.
    "We are very proud of all our dual credit students and how dual 
enrollment has grown in recent years. This has been a collaborative 
effort, and I am grateful to all the high schools and the dual credit 
program leaders who have partnered with us to make this program 
successful," Dr. Castle concluded.
    Somerset Community College Dual Credit Coordinator Judy Tallent 
said, "Jessie is an incredible young lady. Her commitment to her 
online studies say a lot about her character and perseverance."
    Tallent said five of Allison's college classes came from Wayne 
County High School. "I work with 18 schools. In Wayne County, you all 
have more college credentialed staff members than any of the other 
schools I work with."
    Wayne County High School has set the bar for many years in employing 
teachers who are qualified to teach at both the high school and 
college level, in this geographic area. Therefore, students can take 
advantage of college classes being taught in person at the high 
school during the school day, as well as choose from online classes.
    "Wayne County has been incredibly good to work with because they 
promote dual credit courses and want that opportunity for their 
students," said Tallent.
    Allison spent her senior year being a virtual student where she 
worked completely online from home taking college courses. She had 
been taking some dual credit courses since her sophomore year, as 
well as a couple of classes each summer in order to accumulate so 
many college hours.
    She easily adapted to online classes from home. She acknowledged 
that Math was not her strongest subject, but other than that, she 
found the online courses to be really convenient. "I really didn't 
have any trouble. Online courses were easier because she could learn 
at her own pace. Her only regret was not being better acquainted with 
the professors. "A lot of them seemed like they would be really nice 
people to know in person," she said.
    Motivating herself was not really an issue. "I do love learning. 
History is my favorite subject…I'm good at writing. Learning about 
the world is amazing," she said. "I love, love, love reading."
    "I wanted to work hard. If there is an opportunity to get better, I 
want to do it to better myself," explained Allison. "The online 
college classes are not so different from high school. So, if you can 
save thousands of dollars why not do it."
    She noted how expensive college is and she did not want to 
accumulate any debt starting out her adult life.
    So, this wise beyond her 18-years graduate is headed to Western 
Kentucky University to start her junior year, having a 3.95 high 
school grade point average, a 26 on the ACT, and an Associate's 
Degree under her belt. She appreciates the opportunity to have 
personalized her high school experience. "All of the teachers that 
I've had at Wayne County have been great. I've been really lucky 
because all of my teachers have been really good."
    Besides being a high academic achiever, she also has a lovely voice 
and is a talented visual artist. She has sung at local events like 
ballgames and school events, Veteran's Day Parade, and horse shows. 
"It's terrifying in front of other people, but I enjoy it," grinned 
    Inspired by her grandmother, who was an elementary teacher, and 
having had an opportunity to work in the 21st Century school program 
teaching art—she has decided to major in elementary education and art 
    "I loved it when students were excited about a project. I loved 
being able to help them if they wanted advice or answers, and I just 
genuinely enjoyed spending time with them and getting to know them," 
said Allison. "I just thought, I could do this for the rest of my life."
    Allison shared a final thought that has guided her. "God said that 
the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to little children and that we are to 
be like them. (Matthew 19:14 and Matthew 18:3) I love children and I 
want to dedicate myself to caring for them. I want to teach them and 
be there for them so that they can learn and grow well. I worry about 
being the best teacher I can potentially be, but I know I can also 
continue listening to other amazing teachers and I can pray."
    Allison is the daughter of William and Jennifer Allison.


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