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Twin A.C. Flora Seniors to Graduate High School With First Year of College Completed

Jack and Bishop TobinWhen twin siblings Bishop and Jack Tobin graduate from A.C. Flora High School, they’ll be leaving with more than just their high school diplomas.

Their father, Dr. Walt Tobin, who is president of Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, convinced them to enroll in the dual enrollment program offered by Richland One in partnership with Midlands Technical College. The program enables high school students to take classes that will count for college credit.

“I never thought I’d be getting my first year of college done by the time I graduate high school,” Jack said.

To participate in the dual enrollment program, students must meet with their high school counselors, and courses must be approved by the high schools for students to receive high school and college credit.

“The fact I’d be getting college credits as well as high school credits felt beneficial to me,” Bishop said.

More than 600 students are in Richland One’s dual enrollment program this year. College courses are offered at all Richland One high schools, at Midlands Tech’s campuses and online.

The twins started taking college classes the first semester of their junior year. Most of the classes they have taken are general education classes that college freshmen would normally take.

“It’s nice to get these classes out of the way,” Jack said. “My teachers have helped me a lot. They make sure we get everything we need and they explain everything to you.”

Jack took all of his college classes at A.C. Flora. Bishop took her classes at A.C. Flora and at Midlands Tech’s Beltline and Airport campuses.

“The classwork wasn’t too much and it wasn’t too hard. It was just the right amount,” Bishop said. “My college classes were also smaller than my high school classes. That was kind of a plus for me and I can have good conversations with my teachers.”

Jack plans to study economics at The Citadel in the fall, while Bishop plans to study health care at either the University of South Carolina or the College of Charleston.

To help her prepare for a possible career in the health care field, Bishop decided to pursue an EMT certification through Midlands Tech. While it won’t count for college credit, Bishop will be eligible to receive her EMT certification once she passes her National Registry of EMTs and psychomotor exams.

“This is a good way for me to see if I’d be happy in the health care field. So far, I’ve been happy with it,” she said.

Jack and Bishop understand why some high school students may be hesitant about taking college classes, but they say as long as students put in the work, it’ll be worth it in the end.

“Everyone should take part in dual enrollment because it’ll get your first year of college out of the way and it’ll save you a lot of money. It’s not as hard as you think is,” Jack said.