Jill Gafford Cap & Gown PictureTwo New Albany High School graduates Jill Gafford and Joseph Fennell are the first completers of an academic dual enrollment initiative between the CREATE  Foundation, Itawamba Community College and Northeast Mississippi Community College.

According to the agreement, the students were selected on the basis of applications, which were evaluated by a joint committee of ICC and NEMCC personnel.

Among the eligibility requirements were minimum overall 3.0 GPA on a 4.o scale on all high school courses and with successful completion of at least 14 core high school units or a minimum of a 3.0 GPA on all high school courses and a minimum composite ACT score of 30 or the equivalent SAT score.

Both Gafford and Fennell will receive postsecondary credit for their coursework.

The initiative offered both health- and computer-related pathway options. Gafford and Joseph Fennell Cap & Gown PictureFennell, who both chose the health-related path, completed Introduction to Health Professional I at Northeast, and Medical Terminology in Allied Health and Personal Community Health at ICC. They have enrolled every term since the MOU was established in the spring of 2020 and completed the cohort in May.

Gafford and Fennell will attend Mississippi University for Women on a full scholarship as nursing majors. Gafford is the daughter of Jeff and Rhonda Gafford, and Fennell’s parents are Mac and Laura Fennell.

“The Toyota Wellspring Education Fund offers students in the Pontotoc, Union and Lee County school districts an opportunity to participate in and complete dual enrollment courses aligned to the high demand work sectors of Northeast Mississippi,” said Dr. Kristy Luse, vice president of the Toyota Wellspring Education Fund. “Through the courses, students engage in classes directly which are tied to degreed pathways in many career fields found in our region. We encourage our PUL students to take advantage of this opportunity to create their future and make their impossible, possible!”

“Itawamba Community College is most appreciative of the partnership we have with CREATE and the opportunities it continues to offer to strengthen our communities as well as innovations in education that would otherwise not be possible,” said Dr. Jay Allen, president.