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Twenty-six students of the Academy of the College Experience graduate from Thomas Nelson Community College with associate degree
Thursday, May 13, 2021, was a momentous and historical day when 26 students graduated from Thomas Nelson Community College with their associate degree before even receiving their high school diploma. These students are a part of the Academy of the College Experience (ACE) at Phoebus High School.
The ACE Academy is one of Hampton City Schools’ wall-to-wall academies and is housed at Phoebus High School. ACE provides students with early exposure to the academic rigors and intellectual challenges of college-level work through a structured blend of high school and college curriculum. With the opportunity to complete their high school diploma and associate of arts degree simultaneously, ACE results in substantially reduced college tuition costs and the time spent earning postsecondary degrees.
Congratulations to the following students who received their associate degree from TNCC:
GSST Computer Science
Graduate DeQuis Greene said, “I personally chose ACE because I wanted to attack college head on and go ahead and knock off some years toward my bachelor’s degree. I plan to attend FMAU in Tallahassee, FL and major in business administration.”
“I wanted to prove to myself that I could do advanced classes,” said Maya Miller, TNCC graduate. “I plan to attend Ohio Northern University to earn a pharmacy degree.”
Below is a message to the graduates from the ACE Academy principal Patrice Williams.
“You embraced the challenge and earned your associate degree before graduating from high school. What you were able to accomplish is no small feat! You have shown your peers, loved ones and those that look up to you that when you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything. Your level of commitment to personal success embodies the necessary traits to set and accomplish your goals. My personal challenge to you is to enjoy this moment and build upon it as you continue your academic journey, enlist in the military or join the workforce. If you ever think of giving up, remind yourself that you were able to obtain an associate degree before earning a high school diploma. That is something that only a select few are able to do! Stay focused and continue pushing the limits.”
The ACE is highly competitive, offering only 125 slots per grade level, starting with the freshmen cohort. Rising 9th-grade students applying to ACE must meet HCS admissions guidelines: 1) complete Algebra I in middle school with a minimum final grade of B each semester; 2) enter high school with a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA; and 3) achieve passing scores on SOL math and reading tests. Once admitted into ACE at Phoebus High School, students pursue the Advanced Studies Diploma course of study. During sophomore year, students take the Virginia Placement Test (VPT), which is required by Thomas Nelson Community College for dual enrollment placement. Students have the option of two pathways. Both pathways lead to students qualifying for the Virginia Early College Program. Students who complete the program with a certain grade point average can benefit from special admission agreements with other Virginia colleges and universities, including Old Dominion University, College of William and Mary, Christopher Newport University, and University of Virginia.
Hampton City Schools is extremely proud of these young adults and their accomplishments. We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors in college or the workforce.