May 26, 2011
Seniors graduating from The Middle College at GTCC-Greensboro this week have big plans for future education. Among the school's 30 graduates, some will stay close to home and others will go far away for college in the fall. Quanesha Moore, one of three seniors who graduated summa cum laude, will be attending Azusa Pacific University in California to major in psychology. Another summa cum laude graduate, Amber Williamson, will be attending High Point University to major in strategic communication and journalism.
Amber Williamson, Safiatou Soumana and Quanesha Moore (left to right) graduated summa cum laude from The Middle College at GTCC-Greensboro.
Williamson says she is excited about her future, but she is thankful for the experiences she's had in high school. Dedicated to service, she participated in the Positive Direction for Youth & Families' annual Hearts to Hands program, the National Center for Community and Justice's (NCCJ) Anytown and Special Olympics.
The aspiring broadcast journalist was also a member of Superintendent Maurice "Mo" Green's Student Advisory Council. "This opportunity has allowed me to become a leader and advocate for my peers, which are skills that I will use for the rest of my life," she said.
In addition to the 30 graduates, The Middle College at GTCC-Greensboro also has nine students who will attend for a fifth year. These students plan to graduate next year with a high school diploma and associate degree from Guilford Technical Community College. Safiatou Soumana, who also meets the requirements to graduate summa cum laude, is one of these students. She started taking college-level classes in 10th grade and will use the credit to help her move forward with her future goals.
Because of experiences she has had during high school, she has her sights set on becoming an environmental attorney. Last summer, Soumana was among 300 young women who participated in North Carolina Girls State. Then, she was selected by her peers to become one of only 98 to attend Girls Nation in Washington, D.C. These experiences made her more interested in government. At Girls State, she created bills and debated them with the other attendees. At Girls Nation, she participated in mock legislative sessions, met lawmakers and visited the Pentagon and the White House. She was selected to give a speech at Arlington Cemetery - her first speech ever - and was fortunate enough to meet both of North Carolina's U.S. Senators and President Barack Obama.
Back at home, Soumana stayed very involved in her school and community. She was a member of the student council and National Honor Society, and she worked with Special Olympics and Kids Voting. She also shadowed Greensboro attorney Janet Ward Black, who encouraged her to pursue a career in law. Although, she has an interest in medicine too, and she will consider both as possible career options as she prepares to transfer to a four-year university after completing her degree at GTCC.
"This summer I plan to do a ton of soul searching - and scholarship writing - to really figure out which one is my stronger passion," she said. "I'm so grateful to be attending the Middle College and to be able to do the fifth year program so I can save money for college and graduate early. I hope to transfer to UNC-Chapel Hill next year."
At the graduation ceremony on Tuesday at Koury Auditorium on the Jamestown campus of GTCC, two students became the school's first graduates to earn associate degrees while attending high school. Matthew Hasz graduated with an associate degree in pre-major engineering and is attending North Carolina State University to pursue a degree in nuclear engineering. Ken Phanhvilay is graduating with an associate degree in general studies and will attend North Carolina A&T State University in the fall to study electrical engineering.