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Alabama high school student advocates for dual enrollment programs on NBC’s “Today”

Highschool students carrying out written task

Student Ashley Kimbel of Grissom High School in Huntsville, Alabama, appeared on NBC’s “Today” last month as the newest advocate for dual-enrollment programs.

Kimbel, who is a 17-year-old dually enrolled Calhoun Community College student, is nationally known for designing a lighter-functioning prosthetic foot for Marine Corps veteran amputee Kendall Bane.

Bane and Kimbel appeared on the show together.

In Alabama, public high school students have the opportunity to gain college credit through the state community college system. Students can potentially earn their associates degree and certain certifications and licenses before graduating high school.

Kimbel hopes to become a surgeon and is currently taking CTE engineering courses while dual enrolled in Calhoun’s emergency medical technician program. This program, according to Calhoun’s Director of Dual Enrollment Gwen Baker, gives high school students an opportunity to pass an exam and become licensed EMTs.

“I decided to take dual enrollment courses because I know that I wanted to go into medicine, and the thing I can do with medicine at 18 is working as an EMT,” Kimbel said. “By the end of this class, I will be certified to work in the medical field, and I will have more medical experience than most incoming medical students.”

Calhoun currently offers 89 dual-enrollment courses across 23 high schools in the Decatur and Huntsville areas. There are 1,225 high school students in the area taking 1,939 classes through Calhoun this semester.

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“Dual enrollment classes expose high school students to the rigor of college coursework while still in the familiar high school environment,” Baker said.

Kimbel encouraged other students to participate in dual enrollment programs.

“I know it can be daunting to take actual college courses while still being in high school, but it is so worth it,” Kimbel said.


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C.J. is the founder of the Free Thinker Project and a student senator for the University of Alabama’s student government.

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