NFC Launches New Sentinel Scholars Collegiate Academy

NFC Launches New Sentinel Scholars Collegiate AcademySee full feature article

MADISON, FL - North Florida College welcomed 16 students from Suwannee County into its inaugural Sentinel Scholars Collegiate Academy this fall. Nine 9th graders at Suwannee High School and seven at Branford High School will start dual enrollment courses in January as NFC’s first Sentinel Scholars. 

A collaborative partnership between NFC and the Suwannee County School District, the new program allows participants to earn both a high school diploma and an Associate in Arts (AA) degree at the end of their 12th grade year. Under the guidance of high school counselors and NFC advisors, Sentinel Scholars begin taking college-level courses at their high school in the spring semester (January) of 9th grade. In 11th grade, students are required to take specific courses on the NFC campus in Madison, and by 12th grade, students are considered full-time NFC students with all coursework at NFC and/or online.      

Initially students are selected from a lottery system. To be eligible, students must be entering 9th grade, have a cumulative unweighted 3.0 GPA in at least one academic high school course taken as an 8th grader, and have a level 3, 4 or 5 on the eighth grade Florida Standards Assessment for English Language Arts. To remain in the program, Sentinel Scholars must have acceptable college-ready test scores on the PERT, ACT or SAT, and maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher at both the high school and college level.

According to Jennifer Page, NFC Dean of Academic Affairs, the program also encourages Sentinel Scholars to be role models to fellow students and those looking to enter the program.  

“A major focus of the Collegiate Academy is to provide opportunities for students to excel, build confidence, and become strong student leaders at their high school, on our campus, and ultimately in their community,” said Page. “Starting our pilot program in Suwannee County has been a great experience. We appreciate all the work and dedication that has gone into starting our first cohort of Sentinel Scholars.”   

NFC hopes to expand this program within its six-county service district with the Suwannee County pilot program as a guide for best practices.

PHOTO: Branford High School students, left to right, Ariana Lane, Carly Phifer, Emma Richards, Brice Criggall and Juan Sandoval.