Why early college? For graduate Jac’Quir Pearson, it gave him a better chance in life.

Topics: Early College High School, Higher Education

Can you imagine graduating high school with not one but two associate degrees, as well? That’s a reality for many early college students. When Jac’Quir Pearson was in middle school, he was on a path to attend Timken Early College High School in Canton, Ohio, with guidance and encouragement by his aunt, Jackie Evans.

The result?  In the spring of 2016, Jac’Quir earned a high school diploma and two associate degrees from Stark State Technical College. At the same time. And today, he’s freshman at The Ohio State University studying chemical engineering.

Andrea Mulkey, National Director of Early College for KnowledgeWorks, interviewed Jac’Quir and his aunt Jackie at the Stark State graduation this past Spring to learn about his early college experience and what it means for his future and his family. Here’s what we learned:

As the first person in his family to graduate with a college degree, Jackie thinks her nephew Jac’Quir is setting a great example for his siblings.

“It makes me feel very great and happy for him, because he accomplished what his family didn’t accomplish,” said Jackie. “Some of them didn’t finish school. But he’s making a great example for them, and his brothers, and sister.”

Early college gave Jac’Quir access to invaluable opportunities and supports.

“What early college means to me is opportunities to excel,” Jac’Quir said while proudly wearing his cap and gown. “And more than just opportunities, invaluable opportunities with all the supports and internships that can be offered to any student who wishes to participate. Due to early college, I’m able to receive two associate degrees while I’m 18 years old, while graduating from high school. So that really means a lot, along with all of the support and resources that are available to me as a student.”

Jac’Quir explained to Andrea that at Timken Early College High School, they don’t just throw you in to the program to fend for yourself. “The teachers and the staff really are there to help you and support through your journey through early college. If you need help you can go and get it, and the help is always available to students.”

Jac’Quir encourages other students to explore early college.
“I would highly recommend early college program because of all the resources, support and the leg up that you’ll get,” said Jac’Quir.  “You’ll have a better chance.”

Watch our video to hear our interview with Jac’Quir and Jackie:

Learn more about Timken Early College High School.