Monday, February 27, 2012

Because Westside senior Lauren McCall elected to take dual enrollment classes at Tri-County Technical College's Anderson Campus, through Westside's pilot Westside Early College Academy (WECA), she will enter college this fall with at least 21 college credits and a sophomore status. 

Westside Senior to Enter College This Fall with Sophomore Status


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                              2/27/2012

                                                                                           (By Lisa Garrett)

            ANDERSON --- It's 96 days and counting until Lauren McCall graduates from Westside High School and will be heading off to film school this fall to pursue a longtime goal of becoming a cinematographer.

            She has received acceptance letters from Savannah College of Art and Design and from the University of South Carolina and is waiting to hear from the Los Angeles Film School and School of Visual Arts of New York City.  Because she elected to take dual enrollment classes at Tri-County Technical College's Anderson Campus, through Westside's pilot Westside Early College Academy (WECA), she will enter college this fall with at least 21 college credits and a sophomore status.  "It's a pretty cool feeling," said McCall, who has taken English 101 and 102, Public Speaking and Art 101 and is currently enrolled in Math 120 and Art 111.

            The Secondary Transition Enrollment Program (STEP), also called dual enrollment, allows qualifying high school students the opportunity to gain high school and college credits at the same time by taking college-level courses in their high schools or career centers, as well as on Tri-County's campuses or online.

            STEP participants must prove they are ready for college-level work, obtain permission from their high schools, and meet certain criteria, such as passing the COMPASS placement test for English and math.  Most school districts also award dual credit so the courses can count toward graduation requirements. 

            Students who take two or more courses in the same semester qualify for lottery tuition assistance, added Blanton.

            The classes are offered at the request of the high schools and include English, mathematics, speech, general psychology, sociology, history, American government, and economics.

            "My credits at Tri-County will easily transfer to any of the colleges I've applied to," said McCall, an honor student at Westside.  "It also lifts some of the financial burden of paying for college."

            She says her time spent as a Tri-County student has been a   meaningful experience.

            "I've learned about college atmosphere and how it works.  I've developed my listening skills," she said.

             She can't say enough about English instructor Art Scheck, Rachael Madeline, her art instructor, and Butch Merritt, who teaches photography.  "They are so knowledgeable about their subject matter.  The classes have been so enlightening.  Tri-County's small class size and one-on-one time with instructors really make the difference."

            She took the art class to better prepare herself for filmmaking.  "In class I've learned how to constructively critique my own work, as well as others.  It's a cool feeling to have people see the world the way you see it."

            "Lauren is one of those special students who has set goals for herself and has established an action plan to reach those goals," said Merritt, who is a career counselor at the Anderson Campus, in addition to teaching photography classes.  "As a career counselor for many years, I have been extremely impressed with her personal/professional vision for the future. I am convinced she will achieve great things.  Taking college courses while still enrolled in high school is just one of the many resources that she uses as an advantage. The opportunities are available and I recommend all students utilize what they can.  There is an old proverb, 'If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else's.  Lauren knows where she is headed and there is no limit of what she will accomplish."

            "My mom always told me if I want to pursue a career as a filmmaker, I have to find ways to stand out," she said.  Since she was in the ninth grade, McCall has worked with Creative Video Production in Williamston producing videos and DVDs of community events.  Recently she launched her own website,, which features her photography, videography and music videos. 

            This past July she placed first in a national competition sponsored by the International Pentecostal Holiness Church.  She also produced a video for Robert Bosch's anniversary celebration which the company singled out as the best and has shown in its plants.  "My dad works at Bosch and the company had a contest among its associates and their families to produce a video about what Bosch does for their family. It helps my dad pay for my dream - attending film school."

            "I was so surprised when I learned that Lauren is a dual enrollment student because of her maturity and diligence," said Madeline, who currently teaches a studio art class McCall is taking.  "She has excelled in every project and test.  Her motivation and her creative drive will take her far.  She will be an excellent filmmaker."


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Rebecca Eidson
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Lisa Garrett
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