Two Degrees of Graduation

Ambitious student will earn diplomas from both SSHS, PJC in May

From Staff Reports

Feb. 11, 2007 - As a freshman at Sulphur Springs High School in 2003, Cherish Bolton made a decision to become a medical doctor. That led to a decision to get a head start on her college career.

Paris Junior College Photo

Cherish Bolton, foreground, is pictured with PJC Spanish instructor Myra Cummings, one of her many teachers during two years of high school and college classes. Bolton will graduate in May from both Paris Junior College and Sulphur Springs High School.

�Fast-forward four years, and in May, Bolton will walk across the stage at two graduations. The first will be to receive an Associate of Science Degree from Paris Junior College on the evening of May 11. Then on May 25, she will receive her diploma from Sulphur Springs High School.

�Bolton, with encouragement and support from her parents, Terry and Sonja Bolton (Sonja is a teacher at Early Childhood Learning Center), began her journey toward dual graduation ceremonies following her sophomore year in high school.

�She began taking college courses at Paris Junior College-Sulphur Springs Center during the second summer semester of 2005. She continued her march toward an associate�s degree by taking dual credit courses during the school year and enrolling in summer and nighttime courses each semester.

��It has not always been easy,� said Bolton, who is also holding down a job at Broadway Veterinary Hospital as a veterinary technician. �When I decided I wanted to one day be a medical doctor, I began thinking of a way to get an early start on the education process, and PJC offered the ideal solution.�

Not only does Bolton hold a job while maintaining her high school and college class schedule, but she is also involved in several extracurricular high school activities. She is regional president of the Key Club, a Business Professionals of America regional officer, a member of the Sulphur Springs Lady Wildcats golf team, a member of Future Teachers Association, and is active in the job-shadowing program HSTE. She is a member of the Paris Junior College chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.

�Even with all of these responsibilities, she still manages to maintain a 3.88 grade point average (GPA) at both Sulphur Springs High School and PJC. Bolton said she appreciates the great faculty at PJC-Sulphur Springs Center and at Sulphur Springs High School for affording her an excellent education.

�PJC-Sulphur Springs Center Director Dr. Linda Bennett said she is proud of what Bolton has accomplished at her college campus.

�This delightful young lady has worked hard to achieve this associate's degree,� Bennett said.

Bennett added that Bolton is the second person from the Sulphur Springs campus to graduate with an associate’s degree from PJC while at the same time completing their high school education.  Kristina Bryant of Sulphur Springs was the first to graduate from Paris Junior College and Sulphur Springs High School in the same spring semester. Bryant received her associate's degree and high school diploma in 2004.

�That requires a lot of extra evening and weekend study, and takes a determined and disciplined person to accomplish it,� Bennett said.

Bolton will transfer to the University of Oklahoma in the fall and major in biochemistry as she pursues a medical degree. With an Associate of Science degree from PJC, she said she was automatically accepted as a transfer to OU.

�Completing an associate's degree is definitely important and gives you an advantage in transferring to a university,� Bolton said.

Bolton said that through all of the studying and planning that she has done for the future, she has learned that a good education is an important part of today’s society.

�It is often not easy for someone to attend college, and even harder to earn a degree, but it is worth it and will give that person a much better opportunity in life,� she said.

� Information from Paul Bailey with Paris Junior College Information Services

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