Pellissippi State: Dual enrollment registers record number of high school students

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The number of high school students taking classes in the Fast Forward Dual Enrollment program at Pellissippi State Community College this semester is at an all-time high, and overall enrollment for the group has jumped nearly 40 percent since last fall.

Dual enrollment allows high school juniors and seniors the chance to take college-level classes at their schools or at Pellissippi State and receive credit simultaneously for high school and college.

This fall, Fast Forward registered 1,128 students. That reflects a 29 percent rise in enrollment in Blount County, a 44 percent increase in Knox County, and a 35 percent jump in home school and other students.

“Fast Forward is a program that allows high school students who are ably prepared to complete college courses,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “We are very proud that those students and their parents and counselors recognize the quality of our classes and faculty.”

“This is what it’s all about: helping students reach their goals,” said Spencer Joy, head of the Fast Forward program. “Our success is attributable to more dual enrollment classes being offered at local high schools and to building new relationships with high school counselors and parents.”

A Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation grant pays for eligible high-schoolers to earn up to 12 hours of college credit, and dual enrollment students can take additional classes if they choose, at their own cost.

Fast Forward offered 39 classes at high schools in Knox and Blount counties this semester, up from 22 last fall, and dual enrollment increased at 13 of the 19 schools where the classes are offered. Among those with record enrollments: Bearden High School, with 103 participating students; Farragut, 115; Halls, 96; and Maryville, 82.

About half of all dual enrollment students are taking classes at their high schools, with the other half opting for classes on Pellissippi State campuses. Fast Forward students make up 10.5 percent of the college’s credit enrollment.

Pellissippi State is looking toward continued growth in the Fast Forward program, and it offers numerous options for parents and students to learn about dual enrollment opportunities. In early 2014, Pellissippi State will host Fast Forward information sessions as well as a home school open house. The free events—both of which are open to the public—will feature presentations and question-and-answer sessions.

“Dual Enrollment allows high school students to double up on their learning and take up to four 3-credit classes that count for college credit,” said Joy. “Those students then get a jump-start on their college education, entering college as freshmen who already have 12 credits under their belt.

“The academic experience is very beneficial, but in many ways, the best part of the program is that high school students find independence by taking part in the transitional process of becoming a college student early, by registering for classes on their own and pursuing other formative college experiences.”

For more information about Fast Forward, visit or call Spencer Joy at (865) 539-7349.

High school seniors invited to enter Pellissippi State photography contest

posted in: Community, Dual Enrollment, Events | 0

A $500 scholarship is the prize awaiting one aspiring young photojournalist, portraitist or even Instagrammer as winner of the Horizons 2013 Photography Contest.

Horizons 2013, presented by Pellissippi State Community College, is open to high school seniors in Knox and Blount counties. It’s free to enter.

The winner of “Best Photograph” earns a $500 scholarship to attend Pellissippi State. Each of the top 10 winners receives a $50 award. In addition, winning entries will be displayed on the Pellissippi State Horizons 2013 website and will be announced to local media.

The deadline for entries is Friday, Oct. 11. Only one entry per person is permitted.

“Horizons is an opportunity for high school students and their families to get a look at Pellissippi State and see all that we can offer to aspiring artists,” said John Edwin May, an assistant professor in Engineering and Media Technologies.

“Student photographers will have the opportunity to have their work displayed on campus and judged by a panel of faculty and community members, plus they’ll be able to explore Pellissippi State’s campus, meet the Art faculty and college administrators, and get a glimpse of the college art experience.”

All types of photographs are eligible for entry—including black-and-white, color, non-silver and computer-manipulated. To be considered, the photograph must be uploaded in JPEG format, be appropriate labeled, and meet color, sizing, and compression requirements. For a full list of entry specifications, visit

Entries will be judged on creativity, uniqueness of subject matter, composition and overall impact. Judges will include Pellissippi State Photography and Art faculty and community advisory board members.

All submitted work will be on display Nov. 11-15 in the gallery of the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus. An artist reception takes place at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, in the Bagwell Gallery.

Winners will be announced during a ceremony set for 7 p.m. Nov. 12, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center, also on the Hardin Valley Campus. Artists must be present to win.

For more information or to submit an entry, visit

May 10 Pellissippi State graduates began college as high-schoolers

Portrait of a male with buzz cut hair, glasses, and wearing a white polo shirt.As graduates cross the stage May 10 at Pellissippi State Community College’s Commencement ceremony, some of them will have begun classes at the college while they were still high school students.

Jonathan Caylor began taking college classes through Pellissippi State’s Fast Forward Dual Enrollment program as a junior at Hardin Valley Academy.

“Dual enrollment let me get a head start into something I really enjoyed. I could test the waters and see how things were before I fully committed,” he said. “It was really valuable.”

Caylor became a full-time Pellissippi State student in 2010. He graduates with an associate’s degree in Media Technologies, concentrating in Communication Graphics Technology. He also takes away three certificates: Web Design Tools, Accessible Web Design and Mobile Web Design.

Spencer Joy, the college’s Dual Enrollment specialist, said Fast Forward provides many Knox and Blount county high school students the opportunity for an inexpensive jump-start on a postsecondary education.

“It is a huge savings to students,” Joy said. Students can take a dual enrollment class at Pellissippi State for less than $60. Eligible students also may qualify for the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation Dual Enrollment Grant.

“Students who complete dual enrollment courses enter college ahead of others who didn’t start early,” said Joy. “It is also a transitional experience—students get acquainted with registration and what life is like on a college campus. Although still in high school, the vast majority of them succeed as college students, earning A’s and B’s.”

“The high school experience is nothing like the college experience,” said Caylor. “In high school, your hands are held, everything is planned, and everything is sort of in order. College is not exactly that way.

“Getting to do dual enrollment, even just a single class per high school semester, was a taste of college. I could experience the high school classes I had and merge over to this new college lifestyle.”

Following graduation, Caylor plans to seek employment in graphic design, perhaps eventually pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

Kelsea Smith started in dual enrollment at Pellissippi State as a way to graduate early from Maryville High School. After graduating from high school, she elected to continue on at Pellissippi State.

“It’s the lowest price around, and it’s a really good college,” she said. “I like the professors and I like the environment: small classes where you get individual help, versus the larger universities and colleges.”

Smith graduates tomorrow with an Associate of Science in Teaching, with an Elementary Education option. Through a partnership between Pellissippi State and Tennessee Technological University, she plans to begin working toward a four-year degree in the fall.

For more information about the Dual Enrollment program, call (865) 694-6400 or visit

Pellissippi State invites parents, home-schoolers to open house

Area home-schoolers and theirs parents are invited to attend a special open house at Pellissippi State Community College that is designed specifically to address the questions of the home-schooling community. Attendees who are high school seniors have a chance to enter a drawing for a $250 scholarship.

The Thursday, March 21, event is open to all high-school-age home-school students, as well as their parents or guardians.

The open house gives participants the opportunity to meet with faculty and learn about Pellissippi State’s academic options and with representatives from Admissions and Financial Aid, who will be available to answer questions specific to home-schoolers.

In addition, students and parents can find out about the college’s Fast Forward Dual Enrollment program, which gives high school juniors and seniors the chance to earn high school and college credit simultaneously for select courses. Students who apply and qualify for a dual enrollment grant may be eligible to take a 3-credit-hour college course for as little as $38 plus the cost of textbooks.

“This semester we have about 100 home-schooled students who are participating in classes through the Fast Forward Dual Enrollment program,” said Leigh Anne Touzeau, assistant vice president of Enrollment Services at Pellissippi State.

The $250 scholarship at the open house is provided by the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation supports student success by providing scholarships, new technology and equipment.

The open house is free, and event hours are 5:30-7:30 p.m. Activities take place in the Goins Building College Center and Auditorium at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus.

Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to Sarah Davis, admissions coordinator, at For additional information, call (865) 694-6400 or visit

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

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