Some are Wildcats, and others are Panthers. But they’re all Union College Bulldogs—freshmen, to be exact.
On Tuesday, during a special called Knox County Board of Education meeting, 27 Lynn Camp and Knox Central high school students were officially accepted to Union as part of the new Early Start Program. Students will begin the academic year at their respective high schools on Wednesday, Aug. 21. A week later, they will have a second opening day when Union’s fall semester begins.
Several representatives from Union and Knox County offered words of encouragement and congratulations to students and their families.
Union College junior Rebekah Griffith, a Knox Central graduate and Union student ambassador, urged students to take advantage of all the opportunities ESP will provide and invited them become involved in service work. “You will make connections here that will last a lifetime,” she said. “So enjoy Union while you enjoy high school.”
David Johns, Ph.D., Union’s vice president for academic affairs, assured parents and families that student success is a top priority at Union College. “I’m pleased to add my efforts to the efforts of the entire Union family,” he said. “And I am eager to walk with your student in this exciting journey of discovery.”
Other speakers included Union College President Marcia Hawkins, Knox County Interim Superintendent Ralph Hoskins and Frank Shelton, public relation director for Knox County Schools. Shelton and Diana Mills, director of foundation relations at Union College, coordinated the program.
The Early Start Program is part of the Union Collegiate Institute and offers high schools students an opportunity to earn up to 29 credit hours while still in high school. Through the Knox County Board of Education, ESP students will take these classes free of charge. There were 41 applicants countywide, and 27 were accepted.
Freshman orientation for ESP students is Monday, Aug. 12.