STUDENT Spotlight
Lindsay Edwards, Diploma to Degree Student

Student Spotlight is a regularly-updated feature that highlights students involved in special Baltimore County Public Schools activities, such as camps, student councils and more. Spotlighted students receive and answer a series of questions through which they share their experiences from their respective activities. In this Student Spotlight, Lindsay Edwards, a senior at Dulaney High School, discusses her participation in the Diploma to Degree program. (To see more student spotlights, click here.)

Student SpotlightWhat is the Diploma to Degree program?
The Diploma to Degree program is an opportunity for students in high school to earn an associate degree from the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) while also earning a high school diploma.

Why did you join the program?
At first, I primarily joined the program because it seemed so new and interesting to be able to earn a diploma and a degree in the same time period. Once I learned more about D2D and all of its prospects, I became determined to be chosen to participate in the program.

How did you register for the program?
In the fall of my freshman year in high school, all of the students took the PSAT, which is a standardized test preparing us for the SAT and other exams. From this exam, D2D selected students across Baltimore County with certain PSAT scores to be able to apply to be chosen to participate in the program. I remember going to a large auditorium with so many bright-eyed freshmen asking questions about how to apply to this program. I sent in an application sheet, two teacher approval sheets, an essay written by myself and an essay written by my mother illustrating why I would be a great pick for the D2D program. Once all the applications were sent in, we all waited to see who would be selected. In the beginning of July, my dad called me and said I was accepted along with 20 other students, and that's how it all began.

What classes have you taken/will you take through the program?
The fantastic thing about D2D is that it allowed me to enroll in courses that I would have never been able to take in high school. Some of the courses I've taken have been Criminal Justice, Statistics, Computers/Technology, Speech, Environmental Science, Business and English, among others. It has really helped me to see what I enjoy and will possibly be my future career.

What did you learn/will you learn in the classes that you took/will take?
I have learned so much more in these classes than what was written in the textbooks. While I learned so much about topics that I had never imagined or would never hear about in my high school classes, the experiences from the people whom I met really taught me the most. I've met students ranging from ages 17 to 60, people with many different customs and beliefs, a woman who dreamed of opening her own retail clothing store, etc.; all of these people had lifelong experiences that they were so willing to share. While the knowledge of the course topics was of importance, as well, being able to communicate with adults in my classes opened my eyes up to how many opportunities and possible careers there are in the world.

What are the most rewarding and challenging parts of being in the program?
I never like to eat dessert first so I'll start with the most challenging parts of the D2D program. Some days, I would wake up at 6 a.m., leave for school at 7 a.m., have a student government meeting at 7:20 a.m., go to school until 2:15 pm, have a dance rehearsal until 3:30 p.m., rush home to do high school homework and, then at 5 p.m., leave for classes at CCBC, only to get home some nights around 9:30 p.m. and still having to shower, finish homework, study for tests and get ready to do it all again tomorrow. I have to admit that, some days, it was difficult to stay awake and to get everything done. Yet, challenges come with their lessons learned, and I was fortunate enough to be able to stay motivated and work even harder; I've always been determined, and this wasn't going to stop me.

This past summer I was getting ready to take my statistics final exam. I was thoroughly exhausted but motivated nonetheless to still earn an A. Once I finished the exam and saw that my 4.0 GPA was still intact, and I was so close to earning my associate degree, I realized that all of my hard work was worth it. The most rewarding part of the D2D program was when I would grasp how close I was to achieving my goal and graduating high school while also graduating with a degree.

How has/is the program prepared/preparing you for college?
This program has prepared me to be open to new possibilities of careers in college. Before entering D2D, there were so many majors that I was not sure if I would be interested in. However, taking courses at the college level helped me to experience difference careers that I would never have considered before.

What are your college and career goals?
In all honesty, I am still not completely sure what I want to do with my life – hey, I'm only 17! However, I know that, whatever I choose for my college and career, I will be able to stay determined, work hard and achieve the end goal.

What advice do you have for other students who are interested in the program?
This program has really been an incredible experience and a great way to have a head start on life. It's also an extremely time-consuming program, and you have to be dedicated so, before you apply, consider if you have enough time or motivation for this. I've had to give up some nights out with friends or more clubs at high school that I would have liked to join to have enough time for this, and I was still stretching it. You really have to know yourself and be sure that you will stay committed to this. In the end, it's worth it!

What are your hopes for this school year?
This school year is one that I have been waiting a long time for – senior year!  My hopes for this year both at high school and at CCBC are to continue having a great time and enjoying every moment of it. So much excitement is just around the corner, and I know this year will be one to remember.

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