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History Made: Dr. Dukes keynotes first Middle College graduation

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Article by: Jennifer L. Colter

An exclusive program that enrolls a distinct number of high school students annually, and offers a demanding health and science curricula, Middle College was established by Prince George’s Community College in 2011. The premier group of students who are now seniors will graduate from the program with both a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree.

LARGO, MARYLAND – Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) has reached a major milestone, and is extremely proud to announce that its FIRST Middle College class will graduate from the Academy of Health Sciences on Thursday morning, May 21, 2015 at the Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, MD.  Dr. Charlene M. Dukes, president, Prince George’s Community College, will provide the keynote speech at the graduation. In 2011, under Dukes’ administration, Prince George’s Community College launched an extraordinary program that would test the boundaries of traditional education, as a select number of high school students embarked on an academic course that has secured their place, as well as the College’s place in history and the record books.

Ninth graders at the time, the students in the AHS Middle College program began their journey with challenging high school courses that transitioned into an even tougher college curricula. The senior class, comprised of 92 boys and girls—of which 90 are graduating with both a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree--will participate in the College’s 56th Commencement in conjunction with PGCC’s “traditional” students who are receiving their Associate’s degrees. The success of the program is unparalleled, and the outcome garnered an even bigger return for the graduates: a once-in-a-lifetime educational experience, restored confidence in their abilities, a high school diploma AND an Associate’s degree. Moreover, this historical event is significant because all of the 92 students in the class of 2015 have been accepted to a four-year college or university as a result of the program.

 “I am extremely proud of this program and even more pleased with the students’ unwavering commitment to their education,” said Dr. Charlene M. Dukes, president, Prince Georges’ Community College. “The students, faculty, and staff are all creating history, as PGCC is the first College in the state to have a graduating class in this program. That is a groundbreaking achievement for both our educational system andfor the students and families we serve. From this point forward, there will be nothing that is out of reach for these enterprising young men and women,” she said.

The statistics the Academy of Health Sciences has reported are unprecedented, and have completely changed the profile of today’s educational landscape. The students who have matriculated through the Academy of Health Sciences have achieved nothing short of a remarkable feat by excelling in courses like Anatomy, Micro-Biology and Statistics; courses that are usually reserved for second and third-year university students. The highly challenging curricula coupled with the rigorous pace the self-motivated students maintained has prepared the 92 scholars to succeed at the best-of-the-best in four-year institutions. With over 5 million dollars awarded in scholarships so far—primarily based on merit—the Middle College graduates are proudly preparing themselves to attend Johns Hopkins University, Yale, James Madison University, Stephenson College, Marist, Temple University, Towson State, Princeton, Howard University, Hampton Institute, North Carolina A &T, Morgan State, American University, The George Washington University, Catholic University, Trinity, Virginia State University, Georgetown…just to name a few!

For more information about the Academy of Health Sciences Middle College program at Prince George’s Community College, visit http://www.pgcc.edu/about_pgcc/academy_of_health_sciences.aspx. The Middle College graduation ceremony takes place on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at the Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, MD from 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

The Academy of Health Sciences at Prince George’s Community College
On July 11, 2011, the first middle college high school in the state of Maryland opened at Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) with a summer bridge program for 100 rising 9th grade students. The Academy of Health Sciences @ Prince George’s Community College represents a significant partnership with the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS).

The Academy is focused on preparing students to enter one of PGCC’s Health Sciences Clinical Programs or transfer to a four-year college or university to pursue additional educational offerings related to health sciences. The Academy’s rigorous, innovative four-year program combines high school and college courses through dual enrollment credits. Students are introduced to college courses in their first year. By 12th grade, college courses are the foundation of the program. At the time of graduation from the Academy, students will have met the requirements for a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.

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