McCluster graduates with Associate’s Degree from SGTC and high school diploma from ASHS in same month
Shermel McCluster, a seventeen year-old high school senior from Americus, has just accomplished an amazing feat—she walked across the stage to receive her Associate of Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice Technology from South Georgia Technical College nine days before her high school graduation.
McCluster, a graduating senior at Americus-Sumter High South and one of South Georgia Tech’s newest graduates, took advantage of the Move On When Ready (MOWR) program through the state of Georgia and SGTC, which allowed her to take college credit classes while she was finishing up high school, and now she’s two years ahead of most of her peers in her college education.
“I’d recommend Move On When Ready to any high school student who’s ready to get a jump start on their education and get closer to starting the career of their choice,” said McCluster. Through the MOWR program, McCluster and her parents have saved a total of $6,496 in college tuition and fees. “Students in the program are fully covered through MOWR funding, and don’t have to pay out of pocket for tuition, college fees, or textbooks, so the opportunity is incredible and the possibilities for these students are endless,” said SGTC High School Initiatives Coordinator Vickie Austin. “The credit hours they complete through SGTC while they’re enrolled in Move On When Ready won’t count toward their total HOPE Grant or Scholarship caps, and the degree level courses will transfer to any Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) or University System of Georgia (USG) college or university, so it really is a no-brainer for any young person who’s eager to get into the workforce,” she continued.
In addition to her Associate’s Degree, Shermel earned three technical certificates of credit as a MOWR student at SGTC. During her time as a student, she landed an internship with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office in Americus, which her instructor, Teresa McCook, helped her secure. “Mrs. McCook really works with our MOWR students to make sure they have all the classes they require to complete the program,” said Austin, “and if they’re not able to finish up by the time they graduate high school, she helps them through the summer and beyond, if needed.”
McCluster plans to continue her education at Valdosta State University and eventually become an FBI agent. She said her favorite class in the Criminal Justice program was Ethics and Cultural Perspectives because she is especially interested in the moral aspects of the criminal justice field.
“We want to thank the Sumter County School System and South Georgia Technical College for being an instrument in helping Shermel to accomplish her goals in life,” said her parents, Bishop Melvin and Mrs. Shermeanetter McCluster. “With her pursuing this career path, we know the world will be a safer place to live.”
Many other SGTC programs, including Nurse Aide, Barbering, Culinary Arts, and Welding are offered through the Move On When Ready program. For more information, contact High School Initiatives Coordinator Vickie Austin at 229.931.2866 or firstname.lastname@example.org, email email@example.com, or visit southgatech.edu/academics/high-school-programs.