There are approximately 2000 high school students currently enrolled in dual enrollment programs at institutions of the University System of Georgia (USG), thereby earning both high school and college credits.
According to Dr. Mannie Hall, Clayton State University’s director of Academic Outreach, 10 percent of those students, who represent the state of Georgia's best and brightest, are part of the Clayton State dual enrollment program. Counting all students, Clayton State has just 2.2 percent of the USG's total enrollment.
One of the reasons for the success of Clayton State's dual enrollment program is the qualitative approach taken by Hall, who indeed does focus on the best and brightest. Like, for example, Noni Carter.
A 19-year-old resident of Fayetteville who has just finished her freshman year at Harvard University, Carter has already achieved fame beyond her years, thanks to the success of her first novel, "Good Fortune," (Simon & Schuster, $16.99) a work of historical fiction that tells the story of a young slave named Anna and her journey from Africa to America, and her pursuit of freedom… sort of a “Roots” for the 21st Century.
As is the case with most successful authors, Carter has been making the rounds of book signings, TV and radio interviews (Good Day Atlanta, CNN's What Matters, NPR, GPR) and magazine (Black Pearls) stories, so much so that she needs her own website, www.nonicarter.com. And although most of the news stories will note her Harvard connection, she received her start in higher education in Clayton State’s dual enrollment program.
“Noni was one of my full-time, two-year Dual Enrollment students on our main campus,” Hall recalls. “She is very talented, unique, and capable, although it is true that many minority Dual Enrollment students attend the Ivy League schools. This is a noteworthy outcome generated from a qualitative Dual Enrollment Program approach versus a quantitative approach. Much work went on behind the scenes to help this early college student succeed and move on to an Ivy League education.
"We are certainly producing more than just numbers. The full time dual enrollment students are quite remarkable and their achievements are uniquely unusual, especially the two-year full time dual enrollment students."
Carter has been in the public eye in Boston, Atlanta and nationally. In Boston, she interviewed on the NPR show "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook, and was featured in the Havard Crimson. In Georgia, she's made the rounds to Georgia Public Radio and three local network affiliates. Nationally, she was just profiled in Black Pearls, which referred to her as the Alex Haley of this generation. And, of course, she's done a book signing at the high school that helped launch her dual enrollment career, Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone.