Five D’Iberville High seniors made history this year by becoming the first students in the Harrison County School District to receive their college degree, before getting their high school diploma! The five students were enrolled in the Collegiate Academy program, which Harrison County School District launched during the 2017-18 school year. The students graduated with an associate degree from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College on May 9, 2019. Then, on May 25, 2019, those same students walked across the stage to receive their high school diploma during D’Iberville High’s graduation ceremony.
“May 25, 2019, is a date to remember. Harrison County School District presented high school diplomas to the first students that walked across the stage with their associate degree from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. These five students from D’Iberville High School have left us with a sense of pride and admiration. It is a remarkable accomplishment that the students completed!” said Harrison County Schools Superintendent, Roy Gill.
The graduates, Rhyann Casey, Hannah Dobson, Dreayana Hawkins, Tyler Krivanec, and Samantha Stevens, began their journey in their junior year of high school.
“It was just a huge milestone that I just completed, and it was a goal that I didn’t think I could actually set for myself. But, I did it and I felt good. It was really heartwarming to walk across the stage and receive that handshake. It was really life changing,” said Collegiate Academy graduate Dreayana Hawkins.
Collegiate Academy is available at all three high schools in the Harrison County School District. The program allows high school students to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an associate degree. The student body consists of high school juniors and seniors enrolled in dual-credit courses at their high school and the Jefferson Davis Campus of MGCCC. The students split their time between the high school campus and the JD campus, and they get to participate in both high school and college activities.
“It is a fun experience, but it’s also challenging. You have to be on top and willing to make sacrifices to get what you want in the future. I understand that a lot of people can’t really afford to make those sacrifices, but if you want to do this program, you have to make those, and in the end, it will all turnout good and you will feel better about yourself,” said Dreayana Hawkins.
Dreayana is proud to be part of the inaugural Collegiate Academy class in the Harrison County School District, and she encourages other students across the district to consider this unique opportunity.
“I had a lot of help from friends and family. They were with me every step of the way. And, my counselor, he helped me juggle some of the stuff and taking some of the load off my shoulders, and it really helped me achieve my goal,” said Dreayana. “I saw the honor, the pride, and joy in my family’s eyes. My family is also happy for me that they’ll not only do one, but two graduations at the same time, and see their last child graduate twice! It’s a lot, but I’m handling it well.”
You can watch this video to hear more about Dreayana Hawkins’ Collegiate Academy experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxCEQ1BMI8g&t=15s