Even though the regal melody of “Pomp and Circumstance” will not be heard at traditional high school graduation ceremonies across the country because of COVID-19, at least nine Early College high school students at State Fair Community College have twice as much to celebrate this May.

Not only will these students be awarded their high school diplomas but also will receive college certificates and degrees because they wisely chose the academic fast track.

“I wish I could have attended the graduation ceremonies of all our dual credit seniors this year and presented their college diplomas to them in person,” said Dr. Joanna Anderson, SFCC president. “We are very proud of all our dual credit students and instructors and their supportive parents and high school teachers and counselors. Even though we may not see all of them on our campuses or in our online classes after high school, we are pleased that we can help them achieve their educational and personal goals.”

The following high school graduates will receive their Associate of Arts degrees (64 credit hours) from SFCC, which prepares students to transfer to a four-year school to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Kenzi Lee Bustamante, Trinity Shea Crouch, Lucas Martin and Emma Grace Salmons from Eldon High School

Katy Faith Poock of Boonville - Homeschooled

Haley LeAnn Rector and Shaylee Nichole Skinner from Macks Creek High School

Lauren Elaine McFail from Smith-Cotton Higher School

Ryan Stephen Dixon from Windsor High School, will receive from SFCC an Associate of Applied Science in Engineering Design Technology, a Professional Certificate in Engineering Design Technology, a Skills Certificate in Architectural Design, and a Skills Certificate in Mechanical Design. Dixon was 15 years old when he began taking college courses at SFCC.

Kevin Haulotte, SFCC instructor, and Sherry Foster, Windsor High School counselor, shared comments about Ryan’s extraordinary achievements.

“Ryan is one of the most outstanding students I have worked with,” said Haulotte. “He had to not only learn architectural design content, but he also had to learn how to be a college student … Ryan did a phenomenal job of mastering the content and adjusting to college. He did all of this while he attended high school, participated in sports, and stayed involved in high school clubs and activities – all while he maintained a high GPA in high school and at SFCC.”

Foster also recognized Ryan’s determination. "Ryan has worked hard and has been extremely focused and driven in order to achieve his goals of completing the required coursework for his high school diploma at the same time as obtaining his college associates degree,” Foster said.

“What an accomplishment to have achieved both goals alone, but with academic honors as well! Ryan is a student leader, and his exceptional accomplishment will serve as motivation for underclassmen to follow in his footsteps. I am very proud of Ryan, and I foresee a bright future for him and continued success in his forthcoming endeavors!"

More than 600 high school students were enrolled in spring Early College (dual credit) classes at SFCC, which was an increase of 27 percent over the previous spring semester. There is a growing trend for high school students to get a jump on their postsecondary careers by taking college classes during high school. Not only do they save time but also money because those same credit hours would cost thousands of dollars more if taken after high school.

Dual credit tuition for any high school student at SFCC is currently $79 per credit hour for on-ground classes or $94 for online. For students who qualify for reduced or free lunch program, dual credit classes at SFCC are free.

Enrollment is open for summer and fall classes. Summer session begins June 3; fall begins Aug. 24. Admission applications are free. For more information on how to enroll in dual credit classes, visit www.sfccmo.edu/dual-credit. Visit www.sfccmo.edu to enroll.