Dual degrees for Petersburg students

5/8/2014, 2:53 p.m.
Two Petersburg students will receive dual degrees from Richard Bland College.
Tamika Harper and Malik Tyler will receive dual degrees Friday.

Two Petersburg City Public Schools (PCPS) students will receive High School Diplomas and Associate of Science Degrees from Richard Bland College at the end of this school year.

Eighteen-year old Tamika Harper and 17-year old Malik Tyler are enrolled in the Middle College High School Program, a partnership between Richard Bland College (RBC) and PCPS. The dual enrollment program allowed both Harper and Tyler to earn college credits and a college degree while completing requirements for high school graduation.

On May 9th, the duo will cross the stage at the 2014 Richard Bland commencement ceremony. On June 7th, Tyler and Harper will take part in the Petersburg High School graduation ceremony.

“Richard Bland was an awesome experience,” says Tamika Harper. I not only started my college journey early, but I learned many life skills, such as time management.” For Malik Tyler, he says he had to “step up his game” at RBC. “I learned to focus, while adjusting to more freedom. I had to study hard, but I could be myself.”

Both students were encouraged to join the dual enrollment program by Petersburg High guidance counselors and teachers who worked with them to achieve the cumulative 3.0 GPA required for the program.

“Our teachers and counselors work diligently so that PCPS students meet standards to participate in the Middle College High School Program. We’re proud of our students’ success and our partnership with Richard Bland,” said Dr. Joseph Melvin, Superintendent of Petersburg City Public Schools.

Harper and Tyler are proud of their accomplishments and say they will be the first in their immediate family to receive a college degree.

“I was a first generation college graduate, and education meant everything to me in being able to achieve the American dream,” says Richard Bland President Debbie Sydow. “Through clearly articulated educational pathways with partners like Petersburg High School, Richard Bland students are able to secure an affordable, high quality college degree that sets their course for a better future.”

The future for Harper includes transferring to James Madison University with the goal of becoming a physical therapist. Tyler will pursue his 4-year degree in accounting at Virginia State University.