Three Catoosa County Public Schools (CCPS) students graduated with a diploma from high school and an associate’s degree from college through Georgia’s new "Move On When Ready" program.

Alexys Bolden, a Heritage High School student, and Logan DeBerry a Ringgold High School student, earned an Associate of Science degree from Dalton State College; and, Miette Craig, a Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe High School student, earned an Associate in Business Management degree from Georgia Northwestern Technical College. As part of her degree from GNTC, Miss Craig also earned the following industry certificates: human resource management specialist, technical management specialist, and supervision/manager specialist.

According to the Georgia Student Finance Commission website, the Move On When Ready (MOWR) program is Georgia’s dual enrollment program that allows high school students (9th-12th grade) to earn college credit while completing their high school diploma. The new MOWR program, which began in the fall of 2015, covers tuition, mandatory fees, and required textbooks. For more information about Move On When Ready, visit GAfutures.org.

Superintendent Denia Reese said, "Our vision includes graduating students who are prepared to be good citizens and leaders of the future. I am so excited that students are taking advantage of the MOWR program in our high schools so they are prepared to enter college or the workforce as leaders. We’ve had 170 students participate in the new program, and I am very proud of these three students who have taken full advantage of the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree."

Alexys Bolden (Parents: Tina & Chad Bolden): Miss Bolden attended Catoosa’s Woodstation Elementary School, Heritage Middle School, and Heritage High School. She commented, "I was in the first class to attend Woodstation Elementary when the school opened."

Miss Bolden said she has always enjoyed school and was active in extracurricular activities including BETA Club, National Honor Society, and basketball; however, even honors classes were very easy for her. She added, "I tested in the genius range on my IQ test." When she had the opportunity to dual enroll in high school and college, it seemed like the perfect fit for her.

Miss Bolden said, "Since I have always loved science, I decided to pursue my Associate in Science Degree from Dalton State College. I completed my academics as a college student, and I was able to continue extracurricular activities with my high school friends."

She plans to transfer 64 credits to West Virginia College where she will pursue a PhD in Forensic Pathology. She hopes to work in a government facility, maybe the GBI, in the future.

Miette Craig (Parent: Bre LaMountain): Miss Craig attended Catoosa’s Cloud Springs Elementary School, Lakeview Middle School, and Lakeview Fort-Oglethorpe High School. Miss Craig opened her own web-based wire-wrapped jewelry business, Earthly Indigo, in 2015 when she was a sophomore in high school. Being an artist and entrepreneur, she said she thought it should be easier for students to "finish high school and move on." She thinks the name Move On When Ready is very appropriate because she didn’t want to have to attend four years of high school to graduate. She said, "I was so excited when my mom and I found out that I could dual enroll in LFO High School and Georgia Northwestern Technical College."

Miss Craig began general education classes at GNTC’s Walker Campus in her junior year at LFO, but she has really enjoyed the convenience of the Ringgold Campus and online classes this year. She plans to continue selling jewelry through Earthly Indigo on Etsy, and she participates in local events including 1890s days. She has already started summer classes at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga in Business Administration.

Logan DeBerry (Parents: Michelle Flanders and Sean DeBerry): Mr. DeBerry attended Catoosa’s Tiger Creek Elementary School, Ringgold Middle School, and Ringgold High School. He said, "I have always been really interested in science. A good friend mentioned the MOWR program to me, and I thought it sounded like a great idea."

Mr. DeBerry enrolled in Dalton State College second semester of his junior year at RHS. He commented, "It was a little scary at first because I had never been on a college campus, but I knew I had support in a familiar setting at RHS. Taking more challenging college classes in high school has prepared me to graduate from college with a master’s degree in the same amount of time as my peers will finish with a bachelor’s. Mr. DeBerry is enrolled in Dalton State in the fall and said he may transfer to Kennesaw State or apply for medical school at Emory University.

Superintendent Reese added, "In Catoosa County Public Schools, our goal is for every child who enters our system to graduate with a diploma, and like these three young people, our students can graduate high school with college credit and even dual degrees. Since today’s students have a variety of needs and interests, we offer a variety of programs in addition to a traditional high school diploma. I encourage students and parents to talk to their high school administrators and counselors to understand the many opportunities that our available for our high school students."