22 FHS graduates earned an associate’s degree in 2015. 12 FHS graduates have earned an associate’s degree this year. 44 FHS students are on track to earning an associate’s degree in 2017.
Graduation ceremonies were held Friday, May 13, at at Noyes Stadium in Paris. All 12 graduates and many members of QISD administration and their families were in attendance.
The dream for this program came through Kenny Stone, school board president. He had a vision to bring Quinlan students to the college campus. “I wanted them to set their feet on the actual campus. I wanted them to experience school life away from home. After developing conversations with school leaders, the vision became clear. We wanted to be able to offer the opportunity to our students to get to the college level and experience success for free, even if that meant providing transportation. I want QISD to be the catalyst that empowers our students to pursue their dreams. An important goal for our students who participate in the program is to walk away from the experience knowing, ‘I can do this. I can go to college and I can succeed,’” he said.
In essence, a full year of college at a state university will cost approximately $17,000 and more. Many universities are above $30,000. The cost savings to families is tremendous. FHS 2013 Alumni Shelby Reeves is graduating from Texas A&M in College Station. She had earned a full year of college while at home in Quinlan. Everything from PJC transferred. “I’m so grateful for the amazing jumpstart Quinlan gave me and the supportive community backing me up! I’s so blessed to say I’m from Quinlan, TX!” No doubt that Shelby and many others are making Quinlan proud at top universities across the state and country.
These students who are able to participate in the program are school leaders. They are leaders in their clubs, organizations and athletic teams. If there is one common thread among these graduates, that sentiment is, “I feel prepared for college at the university level.” “I had to learn how to manage my time, stay involved in school and learn to not ever procrastinate,” another student said. “I’m the first in my family to go to college, really one of the first to graduate high school, so I can’t tell you what this program has meant to me. I had no one at home familiar with the whole college thing. It overwhelmed my parents thinking about it. This program has taken that away. Applying, getting all of the paperwork and filling it out isn’t as scary as it seems. The school helped,” another student said. “I had to prioritize what’s important for me and have learned to not give up. It would have been so easy to give up and I’ve learned that I can stick it out and persevere in other areas of my life as well,” said one student. One last statement by a student was this, “It really helped me start thinking about what I wanted to do much earlier and I started preparing for it. I have changed my mind a few times, but I know now I want to be in the health care industry and am excited I can go straight into the field, and all of my basics and classes I don’t care about are done.”
Congratulations to the following Paris Junior College Graduates:
1. Ayala Adyela, Major: Medicine, Won the Gates Millennium Scholarship (All Expenses Paid for four years)
2. Kendall Barrow, Tarleton State University, Kinesiology - TSU Scholarship $7,000
3. Emily Callaghan, University of North Texas, Business/Entrepreneur – UNT Emerald Eagle Scholarship (tuition and fees for four years)
4. George Castillo, Undecided
5. Leslie Cavazos, A&M Commerce or Stephen F. Austin, Veterinary Medicine
6. Rebecca Harrison, UT Arlington, Psychology (school mascot)
7. Nicolas Hernandez, A&M Commerce, Construction Engineering
8. Kendall Hoff, Texas Tech, Communications
9. Sydney Reagan, Texas State University, Engineering
10. Theo Serrano, University of North Texas, Engineering
11. Julie Smith, Undecided
12. Lenora Willman, A&M Commerce, Music Education – Mane Achievement Scholarship, $10,000; PTK Scholarship, $4,000; Music Department, $6,000