Friday, May 3, 2013

 BHP senior Ashley Farmer, left, plans her fall schedule with Tri-County Enrollment Counselor Tasheka Johnson.  She is among those who will take general education classes at the Watkins Center in Honea Path this fall.


Tri-County to Offer General Education Classes at Watkins Center This Fall

CONTACT:  RENAE FRAZIER at or 646-1551

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            5/3/2013

                                                                                                (By Lisa Garrett)

            HONEA PATH --- Forty-five Belton-Honea Path (BHP) seniors attended a special Tri-County Technical College enrollment day at the Watkins Center April 10 and registered for their freshman classes.  For the first time this fall, general education credit courses will be offered at the Senator Billy O'Dell Learning Center in downtown Honea Path's community center.

            "After gathering the names of students who had applied last fall at our high school application days, we scheduled this event at the Watkins Center, especially for BHP seniors.  They were amazed they could meet with an advisor to plan their schedules, go to a lab and register for fall classes and leave with their class schedule in hand," said Renae Frazier, director of recruitment and admissions at Tri-County.

            "It was an awesome day for these BHP seniors," she added. 

In 2009 community leaders, residents, and College officials gathered at the Watkins Community Center in Honea Path to celebrate the dedication of the College's new Learning Center named in honor of Senator Billy O'Dell.  At the dedication ceremony, Tri-County President Ronnie L. Booth said,  "This is a foundation piece for us and a way to bring college to your community.  We will do all that we can to meet community needs."

            Earlier this year, several members of the College's President's Advisory Council gathered to brainstorm about ways to grow our presence in Honea Path.  They also discussed assessing the community's educational needs and how to offer a slate of classes at the Watkins Center.  This group later met with Anderson School District 2 administrators, guidance counselors and community leaders, including Tri-County Commissioner Al Young, who is president and CEO of The Commercial Bank in Honea Path, to determine course offerings.   "We learned that the community wants credit and non-credit classes, along with dual enrollment classes for high school juniors and seniors, which have never been taught there before," said Frazier.

For years Mr. Young, who served on the development committee for the Watkins Center, voiced that the community needed more direct ties and access to higher education.  "The excitement displayed during the recent planning meetings with Anderson School District 2's leadership and the leadership from Tri-County made me believe that we had finally found the "sweet spot" for higher education for a variety of ages in our area.  I truly believe that these classes can only be the beginning of something that will continue to grow. This is going to be a winner," he said.

            This fall Honea Path residents will be able to take the following core courses:  English 101 (dual enrollment), History 102 (dual enrollment), English 101, CPT 170, Math 101/102 (Fast Track), English 032/100 (Fast Track), Reading 100 and Math 120.

            "This is very fulfilling," said Frazier, who is a BHP graduate herself, as well as a first-generation college student.  "The fact that classes are five to ten minutes from BHP High School is great.  The seniors are excited.  This is a wonderful opportunity for them.  We may not have every class they want but this is a great first step for fall semester."

            "This has been a long time coming," said Easley Campus Director Dr. Brian Swords, who also oversees the Watkins Center.  He sought Frazier's help when he assembled the group for the planning process. "Being a BHP graduate, Renae has such a strong connection to the school and community and she was more than willing to work on this project.   Once she came on board, I knew my job was to simply support her in any way, but get out of the way and let her work.  She has done an outstanding job of working closely with BHP, as well as District 2 and Adult Education officials, to sew it all together."

            "Renae and I looked at the placement test scores and the applications and intended majors of our BHP seniors who had been accepted to Tri-County this fall.  We made data-based decisions on what courses to offer.  Students are really excited about this," added Gayle Arries, director of marketing at the College.

            After the enrollment session ended and students were bused back to BHP, their parents had the opportunity between 3 - 6 p.m. to meet with Tri-County admissions and financial aid counselors to ask questions.  "Many times parents don't know where to start in helping their sons and daughters to get ready for college.  The paperwork can be overwhelming, particularly for first-generation families," said Frazier. 

            "Parents commented to me how glad they are that Tri-County is in their community.  One student's mother talked to me about returning to school herself.  I told her she has no excuse now.  She can take college classes in Honea Path near her home.  She walked away with an application," said Frazier.


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