Kilgore College raised more than $20,000 for dual credit scholarships Jan. 12 at the inaugural “Continuing the Dream through Education” Martin Luther King, Jr. Dual Credit Scholarship Breakfast.
The breakfast was established this year to raise funds to help students enrolled in dual credit classes continue their education at KC.
Three high school seniors enrolled in dual credit classes spoke at the breakfast about the importance of dual credit to them and how it has prepared them for the next step.
“It was a bit of a shocker to go from high school straight into college courses,” said Kilgore High School senior Mikaila Williams. “We’ve learned that you have to manage your own time, so you learn that very quickly in dual credit courses that if you don’t manage your time.”
Taking college-level courses in high school allows students to learn communication and time management with their instructors before entering college – where they would have to learn those same lessons at a much higher tuition cost.
“More than 60 percent of jobs in the future will require a postsecondary degree. We have tracked our dual credit students through a statewide database and we’ve learned that approximately 22 percent of the students who take dual credit courses while they’re still in high school, earning college credits never matriculate,” said Dr. Brenda Kays, KC president.
Data indicates that these students are not taking courses with KC, nor have they transferred to any other community college or university to continue their education.
“All funds raised today will go into directly to dual credit scholarships,” Kays said. “The college will work directly with high school counselors in the area to identify students who have taken dual credit courses but may not otherwise be able to continue their education. We want to make sure they have the same advantages anybody else would have.”
KC Coordinator of Dual Credit Education Terry Booker taught his first dual credit history course in 1977 and the program has continued from there.
D’Wayne Shaw, technical dual credit coordinator (who was filling in for Terry Booker, dual credit coordinator, who was ill) said dual credit used to be limited to students whose parents knew about college and understood the transition from high school to college courses. At the beginning of dual credit which began at KC in 1977, KC saw about 25 or 30 dual credit students per year.
That has increased into the thousands with a boost from superintendents who have helped push the programs and with advances in the Texas Legislature to encourage schools to offer dual credit and for students to enroll.
“As a result, the number of dual credit students throughout the state of Texas grew by leaps and bounds. It was no longer a secret. It was no longer just for children from educated families. It was for all of God’s children,” Shaw said. “We think we can probably get an ‘Amen’ from Dr. King on that. If they want to be doctors, lawyers, welders, automotive technicians, engineers, social scientists, nurses’ aides or just about anything you could think of, they could start at the high school and at Kilgore College.”
Shaw quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., saying, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and critically. Intelligence plus character, that’s the goal of true education.”
The goal of the KC dual credit department is focusing on identifying the 22 percent of students who are not continuing their college careers and encouraging them to enroll, Shaw said.
“We want to help close that gap,” he said. “You being here today and being a part of this fundraiser, you’re now a part of that team to help us do that. Together, we can help them continue to dream.”
MLK, Jr. Breakfast Sponsors:
- Platinum Level Sponsorship:
- Austin Bank
- Bill Rice II & Bill Rice III
- Citizens National Bank
- East Texas Baptist University
- East Texas Council of Governments
- Judge Richard & Mrs. Christina Anderson
- Mr. Kenneth Raney
- Kilgore Chamber of Commerce
- Longview Economic Development Corporation
- Mayor Ronnie Spradlin
- Rangerettes Forever Alumni
- Rotary of Kilgore
- Schneider Electric
- Wilson, Robertson & Cornelius, P.C.
Silver Level Sponsorships:
- Bob Davis Sales
- East Texas Salt Water Disposal
- Stephen F. Austin State University
- Texas Bank & Trust
- Brookshire’s Food and Pharmacy
- The Back Porch