HAMLET — As students are returning to school this fall, Richmond Community College and Scotland County Schools celebrated an expanded partnership between the two institutions that paves the way for more students to take advantage of free college classes while still in high school.
Superintendent Dr. Ronald Hargrave and RCC President Dr. Dale McInnis ceremoniously signed a new agreement that allows RCC to offer a multitude of classes on the Scotland High campus through the Career and College Promise program. Programs offered to students, including mechanical engineering, computer information and engineering, business administration, mechatronics, electronics and industrial systems, start on Monday when high school students come back to school.
Against the backdrop of Scotland High School’s open house, which saw more than 1,200 students with their parents pick up schedules and tour the school, Principal Greg Batten, Hargrave and McInnis touted the expanded agreement as a game changer for Scotland County students gaining access to college.
“This agreement goes a long way in removing barriers that students face in taking advantage of free college credits while still in high school,” said McInnis. “I really appreciate the hard work put in by both college and school system staff to make this a reality, especially (SCS Director of Career and Technical Education) Camille Goins and (RCC Director of K-12 Partnerships) Kary Edmondson.”
The agreement is based on a multi-year plan that includes greater offerings each year and allows students to earn certificates in their given field before graduating from high school, which can then be applied to an associate degree when they pursue higher education.
“We are appreciative of Scotland County Schools and Scotland High School for being such gracious hosts,” said Edmondson. “Last year, the college provided a welding class at Scotland, and it was a great experience for the students and the instructors. Offering more classes for free to our high school students was the next logical step.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for students and families.”
The SCS contingent echoed those sentiments.
“Due to the hard work of everyone involved to make this happen, our students are going to have some great competitive advantages when they move forward into college and the workforce,” said Hargrave.
“We had great success last year with welding, and I am looking forward to the opportunities for our students, not just this year, but for many years to come as we build and grow this partnership,” said Batten.
McInnis also took the opportunity to thank both the Scotland County Board of Education and the RCC Board of Trustees for their leadership through the process of creating the partnership.
“This is something for which there is no road map,” said McInnis. “Doing innovative things like what we are doing here requires courage and foresight. I applaud both boards for embracing this idea and seeing it through. It will be something that other counties will be looking to emulate.”