VICKSBURG – Seven graduates of the Gateway to College program this past semester at Hinds Community College Vicksburg-Warren Campus were honored during a luncheon May 20.
Receiving certificates of completion from Gateway coordinators were:
- Jacob Barrett, Warren Central High School
- Rita Freeman, Warren Central High School
- Rickita Johnson, Vicksburg High School
- Demetrick Shelvy, Vicksburg High School
- Dylan Silverthorne, Vicksburg High School
- Sharod Williams, Warren Central High School
- Amy Willis, Warren Central High School
Each of the seven participated in graduation ceremonies at their respective high schools, which were held May 26-27 for this year’s senior class.
The Gateway to College involves students who have dropped out of high school or are at risk of doing so because they have fallen behind in high school credits. Once directed toward the program, often by high school guidance counselors, students aged 16-20 are placed in small learning communities and take basic skills classes while dually enrolled at Hinds.
Students entering the program must read on an eighth-grade level and pass HCC’s placement test for full participation. Classes in reading, math, college skills and other subjects are then aligned for the level at which they would have been taken in a traditional high school setting.
In brief addresses, Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse and Vicksburg-Warren Campus Dean Marvin Moak lauded the merits of the program and this year’s graduates.
“Along the way, all of us needed help,” Muse said. “There’s not a person in this room that hasn’t in some way needed some help. They needed people who cared about them as individuals. They needed people who would listen to them.
“I’m pleased that these students have found a way, regardless of what life’s circumstances were and with the support of family, friends, teachers and others, to receive their high school diploma. The door of opportunity is open to you. Take advantage of that opportunity.”
“I’m just extremely proud for each one of these young men and women,” Moak said. “I hope to see them walking down the hallways in a college setting working on their associate degrees and then go on to four-year universities.”
The program debuted at Hinds in the 2013-14 term, at the Rankin Campus. It expanded to the Vicksburg-Warren Campus in 2015 and is directed by Denetra Taylor, who credited faculty and staff for guiding this year’s graduates.
“Gateway isn’t a fast-track program,” Taylor said. “Some of them can come in and finish in a semester or two, then for some it does take a little bit longer.
“This has been great group of students this semester. We’ve worked hard and been challenged.”