High-schoolers, home-schoolers get ahead in Pellissippi State’s Dual Enrollment program

Left to right, Trevor Sharpe, Josh Beck and Reed Stracener get help from Beth Long, an associate professor of Mathematics at Pellissippi State. The three students earned high school and college credit for taking Long’s Calculus II course in Pellissippi State’s Dual Enrollment program last semester. Nearly 2,000 high school students participated in the program during the past academic year.

To say home-school junior Trevor Sharpe was able to hold his own in a college-level math competition would definitely be an understatement.

The 16-year-old student, who was enrolled in the Dual Enrollment program at Pellissippi State Community College during the recently ended academic year, took part this past fall in a Student Math League competition. The event took place at Pellissippi State and was sponsored by the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges.

Sharpe took home top honors—first place in the individual competition category in the Southeast region—and it’s likely that his participation in Dual Enrollment was of benefit.

Pellissippi State’s Dual Enrollment program allows area students to earn high school and college credit for the same course. About 2,000 high school students participated in the program this year. Classes are offered at both the high schools and the college.

For a future engineer who is already looking at graduate schools for his master’s work, earning credit towards college is completely logical.

“Since my dad’s a mechanical engineer and math and science have always been my favorite subjects, engineering seems like a natural fit,” Sharpe said. “If you have to take a class anyway, why not get college credit for it?”

Sharpe started at Pellissippi State with Calculus I last fall, then moved on to Calculus II spring semester.

“College is definitely different than what I’m used to,” said Sharpe. He says he intentionally transitioned into postsecondary courses slowly, but things have gone so well, he’s now ready to take three college-level classes per semester.

Sharpe traveled to Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus twice a week for classes. Last semester he met fellow high school students Josh Beck and Reed Stracener in Calculus II.

Calculus II was the seventh Pellissippi State course for Beck, 18, also a home-school student. Beck’s two years in the Dual Enrollment program have made a significant dent in the credits he’ll need to become a mechanical or nuclear engineer.

Like Sharpe, Beck has thrived in the Dual Enrollment program.

“[Dual Enrollment] has prepared me more for college,” he said. “It’s definitely a challenge, which is nice.”

Stracener, an 18-year-old student at Mount Pisgah Baptist Academy in Oliver Springs, had already completed English Composition I and II in the Dual Enrollment program when he took calculus.

“I don’t know what I was expecting at Pellissippi State,” said Stracener, “but the resources and infrastructure have been very impressive. All of it has been absolutely good.” Stracener says he hopes eventually to become a physicist.

For information about Pellissippi State’s Dual Enrollment program, visit www.pstcc.edu/admissions/dual or call (865) 694-6400.