Career and College Promise offers high school students a head start on college credits tuition-free 

Published 11:40 pm Wednesday, August 19, 2020

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Ono Abhulimen is one local high school student who has made the most of her Career and College Promise experience. 

WINSTON-SALEM — As this school year begins, all Winston-Salem Forsyth County high School students will be taking classes online for at least the first nine weeks of the semester. Through the Career and College Promise if they choose, they can also gain free college credit by enrolling in courses at Forsyth Tech.

One student who recently completed the dual enrollment program, Onolunosen (Ono) Abhulimen graduated this spring from Mount Tabor High School and Forsyth Technical Community College with her associate in science degree. She was among approximately 59,000 high school students across N.C last year, who took these courses, saving both time and money toward a college degree.

Abhulimen decided to enter the dual enrollment program as she said, “because of my zeal to broaden my intellectual curiosity in more advanced subjects while experiencing a higher education environment. While extremely challenging, the dual enrollment program has given me the template that will become valuable in navigating my next stage on a full journey in higher education. I certainly felt it was the best way for me to prepare myself for the next level.”

Starting the dual enrollment program two years ago as a junior, Abhulimen took six Forsyth Tech classes in her first semester while also taking three classes at Mount Tabor. Plus, she was a starter on the varsity basketball team and was pioneering the Science Olympiad club at the same time, while balancing other volunteer activities.

To say she was busy is an understatement. Abhulimen said “During that time period, I learned a lot about time management, prioritization, commitment and determination. There was no luxury for procrastination as deadlines were stacked on many deliverables. While the work was challenging, I absolutely looked forward to the varied experiences in the two school environments on a daily basis.”

Weighted the same as Advanced Placement courses, college transfer courses are equivalent for grade point averages on high school transcripts. By the time students graduate from high school, some students earn enough credits for a community college degree or credential.

“Through our Career and College Promise Program, high school students can enroll tuition-free in college courses taught largely online this fall to maintain a safe environment and get a head start on their college and workforce preparation,” said Forsyth Tech President Janet Spriggs. “In this innovative dual enrollment program, we partner with the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools and the Stokes County Schools as an alternative for students. As families are looking for educational opportunities, Career and College Promise is one way to keep students moving toward their future careers.”

Abhulimen took every advantage to move her career forward. With her passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, she would ultimately like to become either a pediatrician or neonatologist. “Medicine became my core interest because it resonated with my heart for service and captures all the applied elements of the fundamental sciences,” said Abhulimen.

She already has a foundation on which to build her medical career. For the last three summers, Abhulimen has logged hundreds of hours shadowing or volunteering at Novant Health and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and was inspired by the work of the neonatologists and pediatricians that dedicated themselves to newborns and children.

Abhulimen is passionate about becoming a medical doctor because it goes beyond showing up and doing your job. “I believe wholeheartedly that there is more value and satisfaction from the selflessness and commitment of a physician, said Abhulimen. “No level of value can be placed on the impact of the compassion, diligence and empathy that comes from saving a life and bringing comfort to the loved ones of the patient.”

As a future medical doctor, Abhulimen wants to leave a legacy of making a difference in addressing health disparities. She quoted Martin Luther King Jr. who once said, “Of all the forms of injustice, inequality in healthcare is the most cruel and inhumane.”

She credits her parents for the deep belief that her name would guide her path to do her utmost for humanity. Her first name, Onolunosen, means “Those who do good things will reap good things in return.” Her last name, Abhulimen, means “victory is mine.”

While COVID-19 forced Abhulimen to miss several senior events, like the prom, awards day, graduation and beach week, she quickly refocused her plans to do something productive this summer. She took an Emergency Medical Service course to earn her Emergency Medical Technician certification. She plans to attend East Carolina University this fall as a premed major.

While Abhulimen chose the College Transfer pathway designed for students planning to continue their educational career beyond high school to eventually achieve an associate or bachelor’s degree at a community college or university, there is also a Career and Technical pathway offered to earn course credits toward an entry-level job credential, certificate, or diploma through Career and College Promise.

While the fall semester is underway now at Forsyth Tech and many classes have begun, the college has additional classes that will begin on Sept. 9 and again on Oct. 14. Interested students should act quickly to secure a spot in college classes.

The Career and College Promise program is offered to any high school junior or senior who meet the state’s eligibility requirement. If you would like more information about the program at Forsyth Tech, click Career and College Promise or call Educational Partnerships at 336-734-7466, or email .