Meet D’era Jones – A 2017 graduate from Amelia High School who truly enjoys working with children. How did she know she wanted to work with young children? She participated in a college level program for high school students at John Tyler Community College during her senior year. The high school concurrent program allowed her to take college level early childhood development coursework at the Chester campus and gain hands-on experience at an early learning center. In addition to her high school diploma, D’era also holds a Career Studies Certificate in Early Childhood Development.
According to D’era, the high school concurrent program gave her the opportunity to not only learn about early childhood development but also to interact with children in a classroom setting. A concurrent program is a special dual enrollment program that allows high school students, such as D’era, to enroll in college courses and potentially earn college credit prior to high school graduation. Along with attending classroom lectures, D’era spent 60 hours her second semester working with kindergarten children at a local early childhood center. D’era said “my favorite part about this program is being involved with the kids and getting hands on experience.”
Taking college courses however can often bring about financial hardship. Luckily, D’era applied for and received a Project Pathfinders Scholarship which covered the cost of her courses, books, and fees. She says, “the scholarship helped me because it gave me, a high school student, the opportunity to take college classes.”
This fall, D’era will be going back to John Tyler Community College for her associate degree. She plans to continue working with young children and knows that with a head start in the game, her future is bright.