High school — and GTCC — journey puts student much closer to teaching goal

Published on: March 6, 2023
Olivia Bolick smiles while sitting at table.
Olivia Bolick believes her two-year educational experience at GTCC has been exceptional.

Olivia Bolick grew up in a teaching family. Her mom is a teacher. So is her aunt, as well as several other members of the family. Becoming a teacher is the only thing Bolick can ever remember she wanted to do.

"When I was little, I liked reading books to my sister, and I would pretend to teach her," Bolick said of the earliest memories of her passion for teaching. "More recently, when I started working at my mom's preschool a little bit, it made me want to work with kids every day as a real job, as a teacher."

Bolick is going to fulfill her teaching dream much earlier than expected. Her mother told her about Guilford Technical Community College's Career and College Promise program a couple of years ago, and Bolick knew immediately it was a perfect fit for her.

The Career and College Promise program at GTCC is a tuition-free program for high school juniors and seniors who have a cumulative unweighted GPA of 2.8 or higher or passing test scores.

For the past two years, Bolick has been enrolled in the program and taking classes at GTCC and receiving credit for those classes at Southwest Guilford High School. This spring, she will graduate from both Southwest Guilford and GTCC about two months before her 19th birthday.

Though she hasn't been in Southwest Guilford classrooms while attending GTCC, Bolick says she has been able to maintain connections with her former classmates.

"I try to hang out with my high school friends outside of classes, and actually, some of my friends are now in this same program," she said. "I think it's all worked pretty good overall. I went to all the football games last fall … I try to do everything I can (to stay connected)."

This fall, she will enroll in a four-year school as a junior, two years ahead of schedule because of the Career and College Promise program. Also, because of CCP, when she starts at either UNC Charlotte, UNC Wilmington or Elon University, the final three colleges she is considering, she will have zero debt from the first two years.

"This program has been great for me. I haven't had to pay for any classes at all, and last semester we weren't charged for books," said Bolick, who will receive an associate degree in education from GTCC. "If we had to pay for all four years, it would have been difficult for us."

Bolick believes her two-year educational experience at GTCC has been exceptional, putting her in a comfortable position headed into her final two years of undergraduate studies. In addition to the traditional on-campus classroom work, Bolick and her classmates got to spend time in elementary school classrooms experiencing first-hand the day-to-day life of a teacher. It only served to reinforce her decision to become a teacher.

"Last semester I got to go into classrooms to observe, and that was good," said Bolick, who was required to spend 36 hours observing classes. "I actually went to my old elementary school and got to see one of my old teachers.

"I want to teach kindergarten or first grade. Those were the ages I had to do observations in. They are so sweet at that age, and you can teach them. You can have fun doing it and make school exciting for them."

Which sounds like the perfect description of a teacher.

Visit GTCC's CCP program page for more information.

Back to All Articles