Senior Spotlight: Evan Jenkins Earns Diploma, College Degree at Henry Ford
Henry Ford High School Senior Evan Jenkins has big dreams.
He wants to run his own business one day. He’s working on developing a clothing brand. He wants to inspire others through his YouTube channel.
And Henry Ford’s Early Middle College helps him get the education to achieve his dreams by providing a pathway to earning an associate's degree while still in high school.
Students learn about the program and take prerequisite classes in ninth grade. Beginning in tenth grade, students earn college credits by taking classes at both Henry Ford High School and Lawrence Technological University during the school day.
After graduating, students attend full-time at the university for one year and earn their associate’s degree in general studies with a concentration in computer science and an undergraduate certificate in cybersecurity, according to the program’s website.
Students also have access to a built-in support system with counselors, mentors, and tutors. Students are exposed to careers in programming, development, web design, and other fields that are high-paying and fast-growing. Students who complete the program and go on to attend Lawrence Technological University for a bachelor’s degree earn a 50% tuition scholarship.
Evan said he plans to obtain his bachelor’s degree at Lawrence Technological University in graphic design or cybersecurity. The Early Middle College program will enable him to finish his bachelor’s degree in two years, reducing stress and the cost of tuition and other college expenses.
Evan said his mother, who did not have the opportunity to attend college herself, encouraged him to attend the program.
“I wanted to make my mother proud. And I knew, even though it’s going to be a lot on me, I knew I could juggle it,” Evan said. “My mom wants me to learn everything that I can to have a better life and to help other people.”
Henry Ford High School Computer Science and Algebra teacher Lakeza Ball supervises the program with school counselor Camille Wheeler.
Ball said the program is a great opportunity for students to gain skills and certification for free in an in-demand field.
It is especially beneficial for students from low-income backgrounds and students who would be the first in their families to attend college because it removes financial barriers that might otherwise keep a student from attending.
Ball worked in computer science for almost 17 years before becoming an educator, so she knows firsthand the opportunities that await students in the field.
“My goal and my dream is to have young people in the inner city enter the industry that in my day was dominated by white males,” Ball said.
The program, which currently has three cohorts, has more than 40 students enrolled, Ball said.
Students must be enrolled at Henry Ford High School to attend the program. Eighth and ninth graders who are interested in the program should contact Ms. Ball at email@example.com or Miss Wheeler at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students can also contact the school directly.