Cato Middle College High School kicked off the 2012 CMS graduation season when students walked across the Ovens Auditorium stage on Tuesday, May 22. The 98 seniors were the largest graduating class for the school, which opened in the fall of 2007 and was CMS’ first Middle College program.
The school is located on the Cato campus of Central Piedmont Community College. CMS students can take their junior and senior high school classes at the campus while taking college classes at any of the CPCC campuses. Students will graduate with an average of 29 semester hours of transferrable college credit, which typically translates into nearly one complete year of college.
“These students have already navigated a campus, been through college classes and the registration process. They know what to expect out of college, because they have already experienced it here. It’s old hat to them,” said Cato Principal Joey Burch.
According to Burch, Cato students have accumulated more than a million dollars in scholarships, each taking different paths with two-year and four-year colleges or universities.
In the fall, graduate Zambra Guiterrez will attend the Savannah College of Art & Design in Georgia. She has received a $40,000 partial scholarship from the school and will major in fashion design.
“I’m so excited for this day. I’ve been waiting 12 years for this and it just doesn’t seem real,” said Zambra, who is also a National Honors Society student.
Another grad, Jordan McClenic, said attending Cato has prepared him for his future, not with just the classes, but with the overall college experience. He will study pharmacology at UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall with one less year to worry about. The National Honors Society student plans to earn his doctorate.
“My freshman year is pretty much complete,” said Jordan. “That’s one year under my belt.”
Jordan is a winner of the Achievement Scholarship award through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The scholarship is awarded to the top African-American high school seniors across the country. About 800 national winners are chosen.