‘Inspiring’ students graduate from Wallace State’s Fast Track Academy/Fast Track for Industry programs

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Graduate Jason Weatherford, right, receives his certificate from Wallace State President Dr. Vicki Karolewics.

HANCEVILLE – Wallace State Community College’s Fast Track Academy and Fast Track for Industry students were recognized recently during a special graduation ceremony honoring 23 Fast Track Academy graduates and 26 Fast Track for Industry graduates.

Both programs allow high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to simultaneously earn their high school and college degrees, meeting state requirements for high school graduation while also providing the general education requirements for the certificate, associate degree, and associate in applied science degree programs at Wallace State. For Fast Track for Industry, students are taking courses in their chosen career technical field. Students in these programs are allowed to participate in their high school’s extracurricular activities, including athletics, band and student organizations.

Fast Track Academy serves eligible high school students in Blount, Cullman, Morgan and Winston Counties. Fast Track Academy students earn an Associate in Science or an Academic Transfer. Fast Track for Industry is a partnership between Wallace State and Cullman County Schools in which students are enrolled in Applied Technologies or Health Sciences programs. Both programs continue to grow in popularity. A Fine and Performing Arts Academy is the Fast Track program for students interested in majoring in the creative arts.

“I’m always in awe of you because as high school students it requires a lot of courage to step out and say I want something different than the typical high school experience as a junior or senior. You’ve decided to go to college and pursue it full-time. That step takes a lot of courage,” said Wallace State President Dr. Vicki Karolewics. “You are two years ahead of your counterparts in most situations and you have a leg up and head start on your career. We are proud of you at Wallace State.”

Between the two groups, the Wallace State Fast Track students have earned $1,749,767 in scholarship money to further their college careers.

“This is an inspiring group of students. They’ve all taken on a big challenge, and there are some stories that are life-changing. It has changed the direction of their life and changed the direction of their families’ lives,” said Rachael Howze, director of Wallace State’s Extending Learning Department (Fast Track, Dual Enrollment and Off Campus Learning). “I’m proud to be a part of this program. Many of these students are taking full-time high school classes, a heavy college class load and working. It’s impressive.”

Fast Track Student President Adalynn Smithson encouraged her fellow graduates to cherish the friendships they’ve made through the program, learn not to sweat the small details in life and strive to learn something new every day.

Also serving as officers for the academic year were Kylie Williams (vice president), Kacie Griffith (secretary) and Sophia Brown (treasurer).

The following Wallace State FAST Track Academy/Fast Track for Industry graduates have already received the following scholarships, with more to come:  

Nathan Hunter Appling – $10,000 University of South Alabama Achievement Scholarship; $9,000 Athletic Scholarship; $2,500 Achievement Scholarship – Bryant-Jordan Scholarship; Belmont Scholarship; Troy University  

Thomas Baker – $20,000 University of North Alabama Vanguard Academic Scholarship; $3,600 Honors College Scholarship; $3,600 Pride of Dixie Marching Band; $3,600 Burger King Scholarship; $1,000 Michael Stewart Foundation; $1,000 Cullman Electric Cooperative; $2,000 Fisher House Military Kids

Kaylan Blake – $10,000/year Freed-Hardeman University Merit Scholarship

Samuel Briehn – $12,000/year Wilson College Presidential Scholarship 

Sophia Brown – $9,356/year UAH Charger Distinction; $28,000/year Spring Hill College Presidential Scholarship; $6,000/year University of Mobile Presidential Scholarship

Alesia Cupp – $30,000/year UAH Merit Scholarship

Haley Heaton – $1,500/year Wallace State Health Scholarship; UAH Merit Scholarship 

Madison Hunkeapillar – $43,400 UAB Presidential Scholarship 

Payton Johnson – $694 WSCC Future Foundation Scholarship; $20,000 University of Tennessee-Martin Explorer Scholarship; Murray State Academic Achievement Scholarship

Elizabeth Maddox – Western Governor’s University Teaching Scholarship

Lillian McSpadden – $1,000 Mississippi State Freshman Academic Excellence; $8,500 Mississippi State Non-Resident Tuition Scholarship

Julianna Ogle – $5,000 Wallace State Sigma Kappa Delta Scholarship 

Robyn Phillips – REHAU Apprentice Scholarship

Taylor Robinson – $22,000 UAB Collegiate Honors Scholarship

Tucker Putman – $1,500 Wallace State Future Foundation – Topre America

Maxwell Ratcliff – REHAU Apprenticeship Scholarship

Auston Ricks – $1,000 Bagwell Foundation – WSCC Future Foundation Scholarship

Kana Schofield – UAB Breakthrough Scholarship; UNA Academic Scholarship

Adalynn Smithson – $30,000/year UAH Merit Scholarship

Jason Weatherford – Automotive Scholarship

Kylie Williams – $5,000 Randall Shedd – WSCC Future Foundation Scholarship

For more information about Wallace State’s Fast Track and dual enrollment opportunities, contact 256-352-8051 or visit www.wallacestate.edu.