With over a year of college credits earned, Prentiss Thomas plans to finish her associate's degree while enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.
Northside High School student Prentiss Thomas is the first African-American student to complete the Associate in Arts College Transfer pathway as she graduates from high school. The program allows students to take the majority of their college classes toward an associate's degree while still in high school. With over a year of college credits behind her, Thomas hopes to finish her associate's degree while she is enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.
The Associate in Arts College Transfer Pathway is designed for high school juniors and seniors who wish to begin study toward the Associate in Arts degree and a baccalaureate degree in programs other than science, technology, engineering or math. It is structured in a way to transfer to any community college in North Carolina.
In addition to her classes, Thomas also devoted her time and energy towards her athletics, and other extracurricular activities. She has been a member of multiple clubs throughout her entire high school career, has played on the varsity basketball team, travel AAU basketball team, along with track and field, and she also participated in the drill team through ROTC. This diverse set of interests helped give her the ability to stay physically active and motivated her to push through her college classes.
"All of these activities kept me on my toes,"
For some of her classes, professors from BCCC would visit Northside's campus to teach face-to-face, while others were offered online, requiring strict discipline. "I was able to have a study hall, which allowed me the ability to maintain my day, my sports, and all other activities."
She also took broadcast classes, in which students watch a live class taking place at BCCC while they are at their high school. Students can participate in these classes by commenting or asking questions live.
Thomas stated that she grew close to her Northside classmates taking college classes alongside her. She took honors classes for all four years of high school. "I was around the classmates I grew up with,"
she said. "Without my classmates, the dual enrollment would not have been so successful. We all help each other out. We all were there for each other."
On Northside's basketball team, she served as captain, and she played point guard on the court. She said the position itself requires leadership and the ability to see things from different angles.
"Basketball has taught me discipline,"
she said. "It taught me how to persevere through hard times, and how to be a team player both on and off the court, and most importantly, how to be a leader."
The discipline for the classes also came from her ROTC experience, in which she participated for four years and held the rank of second lieutenant. Her ROTC sergeant guided her when she was lacking direction in her career decision, ultimately pointing her to the Air Force.
"The Air Force is going to give me the push I need to get out into the real world. I feel like the Air Force is an amazing branch, and full of benefits that fit my needs,"
said Thomas. It will also give her more time to figure out the best career track, though she is currently interested in pharmacy.
"While I'm active duty, I will take online classes so I can finish what I started,"
she said. The Air Force will cover the expenses of these classes.
College has also been a family affair, as her mother Voris Evans-Thomas, who graduated from BCCC in 2017, with two associate degrees, and is currently finishing up her bachelor's degree in business administration at North Carolina Wesleyan College. "That has been an inspiration, because she has shown me how a business degree can be utilized in a variety of ways,"
Thomas said. "It could be something that I will possibly pursue because of its flexibility in the job world."
She is considering a minor in business along with her pharmacy degree.
"As I was on my computer, my mom was on hers,"
Thomas reflected on studying with her mother. "We bounce ideas off of each other. We have succeeded and come thus far because of the help we provided to each other and our shared motivation for each other."
Stacy Jones, BCCC High School Liaison to Northside High School, praised Thomas on her achievement. "Prentiss is a conscientious, hard-working student and an amazing young lady,"
she said. "I am so proud I had the chance to get to know and advise her. I can't wait to see the great things she will accomplish in her future endeavors!"
As Prentiss Thomas graduates from Northside High School, BCCC congratulates her on all of her success and wishes her the best as she starts her Air Force enlistment.
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