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Holt Grant aiding early college access, student success

Mumin: Grant helping prep ’kids for college and career opportunities’

Posted on Monday, June 10, 2013

Photos by Marcie Alvarado Molloy 

WYE MILLS – The Roberta B. Holt Dual Enrollment Grant, established last fall through the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, helped 31 Caroline County Public Schools high school students participate this spring in Chesapeake College’s Dual Enrollment Program.

"Our hope was that every family who had students who qualified would have access to the program," said Buck Duncan, president of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. "I think the data showed that it worked out."

The grant is named for the late Dr. Roberta Baxter Holt, a noted psychotherapist from Caroline County who served on the faculty of Georgetown University. It was established by Dr. Holt’s brother, Haines Holt, and his wife, Nancy, with two other prominent educators – Delaware County (Pa.) Community College Dean Clay Railey and Booker T. Washington Elementary School Principal Dale Brown – helping to shape the scholarship initiative.

The goal of the program was to cover the cost of up to two courses at Chesapeake College for all high school students who qualified for the program, which was estimated to be approximately $500 per course for tuition, fees and books. The grant was launched in the Spring 2013 Semester with 21 participants from North Caroline and 10 participants from Colonel Richardson high schools.

Caroline County Public Schools committed funds to run a bus from North Caroline High School to Chesapeake’s Wye Mills Campus Monday through Thursday each week of the Spring 2013 semester to address the transportation needs of the Holt Grant participants. Colonel Richardson High School students were transported to NCHS daily in time to catch the bus to Wye Mills, which allowed students to take part in 8:30 a.m. college classes before returning to Caroline County.

"The Holt Grant has had a tremendous effect on our ability to prepare kids for college and career opportunities," said Dr. Khalid Mumin, Caroline County superintendent of schools. "The major barriers to participation in dual enrollment have been cost and transportation. This strong partnership between Caroline County Public Schools, the Holt Family, the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, and Chesapeake College in the efficient management of the grant has removed those barriers."

Results from the initial semester were impressive. The 31 students registered for 66 Chesapeake College course sections with a 2.57 cumulative grade-point average on a 4.0 scale. Nearly one-third of the grades earned by students were A’s.

"I believe this program will serve as a model for how to provide early college access and prepare high school students for a successful college experience," said Dr. Barbara Viniar, Chesapeake College’s president. "I thank the Holt Family, the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, and Caroline County Public Schools for being such great partners."

Dr. Bounds said the grant is meant to be a sustained effort, with available funding expected to be at least $25,000 per semester for an annual total of at least $50,000. Caroline County Public Schools has already committed to once again funding transportation to and from the Wye Mills Campus for program participants during the 2013-14 academic year.

Students took as few as three credits and, in one case, as many as 21 credits during the Spring 2013 Semester. Participants indicated they were grateful for the experience.

"The Holt Scholarship was a huge help for me. It took the burden of my dual enrollment classes off of my family," said Amber Bickerton, who had a perfect 4.0 grade-point average while taking 21 credits in Spring 2013.

"Dual Enrollment is a great opportunity for high school students and worth every dollar, but help with the costs made a big difference for most of us," added Bickerton, who earned her Crime Scene Technician Certificate from Chesapeake College the week before she received her high school diploma from North Caroline High. Bickerton will be returning to Chesapeake this fall to complete her associate’s degree.

"Without the scholarship and without the bus transportation I would never have been able to participate [in dual enrollment]," said Kimberly Merritt, who graduated from Colonel Richardson High this spring after successfully completing a pair of dual enrollment courses at Chesapeake.

"I liked that we were able to get college credit before we were actually done with high school so we could start college with some credit already completed," added Merritt, who will also be returning to Chesapeake this fall and plans to pursue admission to the college’s nursing program.

Dr. Mumin said the Holt Family’s connection to Caroline County is important to his school system’s students.

"The Holt Family is a Caroline County family and our kids take great pride in having the Holt Family involved in this project," said Dr. Mumin.


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please send correction or comments to: Marcie Molloy