Ligonier Valley High School Students Excel in Dual Enrollment Program with Westmoreland County Community College | Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood, Pennsylvania

Ligonier Valley High School Students Excel in Dual Enrollment Program with Westmoreland County Community College

Ligonier Valley Students

Ligonier Valley High School Students Excel in Dual Enrollment Program with Westmoreland County Community College

May 3, 2024

In a remarkable display of ambition and resilience, students from Ligonier Valley High School are finding great success with dual enrollment programs, thanks to a long-standing partnership with Westmoreland County Community College.

Bailey O’Brien, Cheyenne Piper and Declan McMullen are among the standout students who have embraced the opportunities afforded by the dual enrollment program and have earned associate degrees while in high school. Motivated by the prospect of a head start in their college journeys, these students have demonstrated exceptional commitment and resilience in balancing high school and college coursework.

For Bailey O’Brien, the decision to enroll in the dual enrollment program was motivated by a desire to capitalize on the array of opportunities it offers. With aspirations to pursue a master's degree in physician assistant studies, Bailey recognized the importance of accruing college credits early to accelerate her academic journey. She notes that the program not only provides a head start but also streamlines the path toward her long-term academic and career goals.

Cheyenne Piper shares Bailey's sentiment, viewing the dual enrollment program as a strategic move to gain a competitive advantage in her college journey. With a passion for environmental science, she aspires to become a scientist and outdoor guide at Yellowstone National Park, a goal she believes the program will help her achieve. She advises fellow students considering the program to “Commit to it. It will be difficult and stressful along the way but will be totally worth it in the end.”

Declan McMullen, echoing the sentiments of his peers, underscores the program's potential to save time and money. With aspirations to graduate with an MBA from Robert Morris University, Declan acknowledges the program's role in providing a seamless pathway to achieving his academic and career goals. His involvement in extracurricular activities such as golf and various honors societies highlights his commitment to a well-rounded educational experience.

All three students agree that their success in the dual enrollment program can be attributed in part to the support and resources provided by Westmoreland County Community College. From continual outreach and assistance with technical issues to invaluable guidance from professors, the college has been a steadfast ally.

Reflecting on the impact of the partnership, Rachel Kurdziel, Ligonier Valley High School principal, emphasized its role in empowering students to reach their full potential academically and professionally.

“Here in the Ligonier Valley School District, we strive to help all students to maximize their individual potential,” she explains. “For many students, this has included taking advantage of the extensive dual enrollment opportunities that are available to them as a result of collaboration between our district and several local colleges.”

She explains that students and their families are able to pursue higher education with less of a financial burden, while many have also found additional benefits to acquiring dual enrollment credits that aren’t as obvious. These include everything from additional academic pursuits to preferred scheduling for classes. 

“We are committed to helping all students succeed, and the dual enrollment program has proven to be an extremely important partnership in this regard,” Kurdziel concludes.

Similarly, Dr. Tuesday Stanley, president of Westmoreland County Community College, reiterated the institution's commitment to nurturing the talents and aspirations of students in the dual enrollment program. 

"We are dedicated to providing the support and resources necessary for students like Bailey, Cheyenne and Declan to succeed not only in the program but also in their future academic and professional endeavors," she says. “Dual enrollment programs have been a part of the college for years and they are increasing in acceptance with other school districts. We are excited to see these students succeed and plan to continue to expand the program. It benefits our communities in so many ways.”