Teenage college graduates prepare to get their master’s

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Two students in the area are teaching us that age is just a number when it comes to getting your degree, or rather degrees.
Kelsey Bolden and Tera Dora may only be 19 years old but they are gearing up to start their master’s program this fall at Auburn University.

The students said their jump start to success was because of the Early College High School program at East Mississippi Community College. Tera Dora would say her early success started when she applied for the Early College Highschool program at EMCC.

“I came because it had more benefits than my home school and I thought it would be something different so I wanted to try it out and I ended up loving it,” said Dora.

Dora never thought the support from teachers would be the kickstart to getting her bachelor’s degree at 19 and looking forward to starting her master’s.

“When we started here we had a great support system. Mrs. Savely and all the other teachers and staff were really comforting and whenever we ran into issues it wasn’t anything we couldn’t get solved so most of the time we had support. We had everything we needed to do,” said Dora.

Principal Jill Savely said the college credit route starts when students come through their doors in 9th grade.

Introducing college content little by little, Savely said encouraged students to work at their own speed and for some, that means more than others.

“As they go through each year they take more and more college classes according to their ability, so some of our students take academic classes and work towards an academic associates degree and some of our students work towards technical programs certifications or degrees,” said Savely.

Kelsey Bolden would say she has had a passion for cooking since she was a little girl.

After earning her bachelor’s in culinary arts at MUW, she’s now preparing for her master’s in hospitality management. She said quitting was never an option.

“I think it’s like self-determination. You see yourself in one place and then it’s like if I can do this then I can go the next step,” said Bolden.

Bolden said one of the most important things she received from the program was making connections.

“Definitely go for it’s an opportunity that you do not want to miss. You meet so many new people and so many connections and life is all about connections and being about of the GTECHs family it is like top tier,” said Bolden.

Savely said the two students came into the program determined and that they mastered every obstacle.

“I think sometimes it maybe looks like it was easy or they didn’t struggle along the way but I can tell you what happened with these two young ladies is they came here as freshmen and they put their heads down and they went to work. It’s not that they didn’t have challenges along the way but it’s what they did with those challenges that made them so successful,” said Savely.

Bolden and Dora along with three other GTECH graduates started the “Great 5 Alumni Association” to pour back into students. This Thursday they will be awarding two $500 dollar scholarships.

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