NEW ALBANY • Two New Albany High School students are the first to complete an academic dual enrollment initiative between the CREATE Foundation, Itawamba Community College and Northeast Mississippi Community College.

Jill Gafford and Joseph Fennell, NAHS Class of 2021 graduates, were selected on the basis of their applications, which were evaluated by a joint committee of ICC and NEMCC personnel.

Among the eligibility requirements were minimum overall 3.0 GPA on all high school courses, with successful completion of at least 14 core high school units or a minimum of a 3.0 GPA on all high school courses and a minimum composite ACT score of 30.

Both Gafford and Fennell will receive college credit for their coursework as part of the initiative, which offered both health and computer-related pathway options.

Gafford and Fennell, who both chose the health-related path, completed Introduction to Health Professional I at NEMCC, and Medical Terminology in Allied Health and Personal Community Health at ICC.

Fennell said he's thankful for the high school and his career coach, Suzy Bowman, who first told him about the initiative.

"With this, I am leaving high school more assured about my career path and more prepared for college," Fennell said.

Gafford said the classes she took during her time at NAHS have ensured a successful future in the health care field.

"The dual enrollment initiative through the CREATE Foundation is a wonderful opportunity," Gafford said. "And it has laid a great foundation for my future career in nursing."

They enrolled every term since the initiative was established in the spring of 2020 and completed the program in May.

Gafford and Fennell will attend Mississippi University for Women on a full scholarship as nursing majors.

“Itawamba Community College is most appreciative of the partnership we have with CREATE and the opportunities it continues to offer to strengthen our communities as well as innovations in education that would otherwise not be possible,” ICC President Dr. Jay Allen said.

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