Dual enrollment student finds connection through ambassador program

Published on: October 7, 2022
Portrait of Bethany Pace
Bethany Pace is a dual enrollment student and a student ambassador.

Bethany Pace was home schooled until she began attending Guilford Technical Community College as a dual enrollment student during the 2022 spring semester. The dual enrollment program allows high school students to take college courses while they are still enrolled in high school.

According to Pace, 17, becoming a dual enrollment student is common in the home school community, but the catalyst for Pace's enrollment at GTCC was the shutting down of her home school co-op due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pace had spent the fall semester fully online, leaving her feeling isolated from her friends and peers.

"I was very happy to be here and be back in a classroom, learning in person, and meeting other people," Pace said. "I chose GTCC because it was really close to home, so it allows me to be with my family more. But I have so many new paths and doors that are opening because they have clubs, and they have resources, like the tutoring center."

As a dual enrollment student, Pace does not have a major, but rather takes courses that will fulfill her traditional high school requirements, such as introductory courses in math, literature, and history.

After her first semester at GTCC, Pace used the opportunity to become more involved in campus life and with her peers. Pace became a student ambassador in the fall of 2022 despite being one credit short of officially qualifying for the position. A personal recommendation from one of her math teachers helped her secure a waiver for her missing credit hour.

"I was really happy I had been nominated because I felt like I had been working so hard to do well in class, be present, and be consistent not only with my grades but with showing up to class and doing the work," Pace said.

"It felt really good to be noticed, that all that hard work and effort wasn't for nothing."

Pace said that the most rewarding part of being a student ambassador has been her increased presence and feeling of community on campus.

"I felt kind of in between, especially as a dual enrollment student and being home schooled. It wasn't like I was coming in with other dual enrollment students from my high school, so I felt very isolated," Pace said.

"But I feel like the ambassador position has given me a way to branch out and meet more people around campus."

Pace is the only dual enrollment student in the Student Ambassador program, but she still enjoys the experience and has become friends with several other ambassadors. She said that the social benefit of being an ambassador, along with being a representative of GTCC, has encouraged her to succeed.

"It definitely holds me to a standard and gives me a bigger picture of what I want for myself and what I can accomplish through GTCC. It gives me a lot of motivation and security," Pace said.

"It's just knowing that there's such a good support group through the ambassadors and that if I ever needed help, I could always go to someone and ask for help."

While many of the students in the Student Ambassador program are beginning to research their transfer options, Pace is trying to figure out what comes after high school graduation.

Pace is considering several in-state options, such as East Carolina University, High Point University, and UNC-Chapel Hill, among others. She also is considering the University of Texas at Austin as an out-of-state option. Ultimately, Pace hopes to attend a college or university that will accept all the credits she will have earned at GTCC upon graduation.

Pace believes that being a student ambassador in her final year of high school will help her reach her goals and succeed in the future.

"It gives me a ton of leadership experience and work experience, like serving the community, and that's something that's really important to me. It also really stands out to other universities as well," Pace said.

"I've actually thought about what I'm going to do when I get to a four-year school because I definitely want to be involved in clubs, and possibly student government. They have ambassadors at four-year schools as well, so that's something that I can look forward to."

Despite her short stint as an ambassador, Pace said she would recommend the Student Ambassador program at GTCC to others.

"It's definitely going to push you out of your comfort zone by getting you involved and trying new things that you otherwise wouldn't want to do.

"But it's definitely going to pay off. You're going to learn a lot and you're going to meet new people along the way. I encourage that. I'm excited because I feel like I haven't even experienced half of the stuff that I'm going to."

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