Determination to Get Ahead

May 20, 2020

Name: Tori
Strong Start Program Graduate

Working toward an associate degree during the current global situation is a tough task. Working toward an associate degree during this time period while also still a senior in high school, holding four jobs, and participating in extracurricular activities? That’s extraordinary.

Tori is a high school senior who has just graduated from Morton Community High School with not only her high school diploma but also an associate degree from Illinois Central College by taking advantage of the Strong Start program. This Early College program is a tremendous opportunity for students to get a head start on pursuing their educational goals.

Tori began taking dual-credit classes her junior year of high school, while also enrolling in summer classes at ICC. By the time summer ended and her senior year was about to begin, she had earned 23 college credit hours. “At that point, I realized it would be ridiculous for me to stop there,” said Tori. “I might as well continue through my senior year earning credits, complete my degree, and finish strong.”

The spring and final semester for Tori at ICC consisted of taking 17 credit hours on top of her high school class load, but she was determined to make it to the finish line. Tori’s sister also attends ICC and has some of the same classes. “Having my sister by my side has been a huge help for me,” she said. “We’re both going into the same field, which is amazing. She really motivates me, and it’s nice having that extra push.”

Tori is thankful for her instructors and the opportunities ICC has provided. “It’s cool to see how much instructors care about their students and how far out of their way they’ll go to help. I didn’t expect the level at which ICC truly cares for students and their success,” said Tori.

“I’ve come to love ICC, and I can’t believe I won’t be back next year. I’m thankful for this amazing opportunity every day.”

– Tori

Next year, she is hoping to attend Illinois State University and continue her path to achieving her dream of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon. Tori certainly received a strong start in achieving her goals at ICC.