Wilkes Community College (WCC) offers Career and College Promise (CCP) classes that are structured opportunities for qualified high school students to dually enroll in community college courses that lead to a certificate, diploma, or degree, as well as provide entry-level job skills – tuition-free.

WCC Alleghany Center Director, Wanda Beck stated, “CCP classes are an incredible opportunity for our high school students. While 11th and 12th-grade enrollment at Alleghany High School has declined over the last five years, the percentage of those students taking CCP classes has increased by almost 10% during the same period. For the 2021-2022 school year, 56.4% of 11th and 12th-grade students at Alleghany High School were enrolled in CCP classes. This increase in enrollment is a testament to the consistent collaboration between Wilkes Community College and Alleghany High School. Both school systems work together to introduce career coaching to students as early as middle school and continuing into high school. This helps to ensure that the student’s 9th and 10th-grade classes align with enrollment in CCP classes in their final two years of high school, which are in turn aligned with their desired career.”

Talina Pipes, Alleghany Center’s CCP liaison and career coach reiterates, “While we do our very best to align students’ classes with their chosen career, sometimes students change their minds in mid-stream concerning which career they want to pursue or which four-year college they want to attend. Both changes will likely result in changes to a student’s schedule. However, that is one of the advantages of CCP classes; Alleghany High School students have an opportunity to explore a career at no financial cost to them or their family. It is better for a high school student to discover that a career is not right for them through taking a free CCP class than after they have enrolled in a college.”

The cost of tuition for CCP classes is covered by the state of North Carolina, the cost of books is covered by Wilkes Community College, and for Alleghany students, the cost of fees ($30/class) is covered by the Alleghany Educational Foundation.

Kaleb Redd, a middle school math teacher at Sparta Elementary School, stated, “CCP classes gave me the opportunity to take college classes and get ahead in life. I had wanted to take college classes early and Wilkes Community College gave me the opportunity to do that. I honestly wish that I would have taken more of them during my time in school.” Redd completed his Associate in Arts degree at Wilkes Community College before transferring to Lees McRae to complete his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.

Redd shared, “I was the first person in my family to go to college. WCC made the transition from high school to community college very easy. I had a lot of academic support early on and I always felt comfortable asking any of the teachers and staff questions. I always knew they had the best intentions for me. I am very grateful for all the time they took to help me.” Redd’s desire was to use his education to make a difference in the county where he grew up. “I love Alleghany; it feels like home in every way. It’s a small place where people depend on each other and is very community driven. I know what it is like to grow up here and I wanted to come back and help the kids that are here now realize they can do great things if they will just put their minds to it. One of the biggest reasons I came back was to support the community and help it grow in a positive way.” Staying true to his heart and positively impacting local kids as a middle school teacher, Redd also coaches youth sports.

Hazel Pasley, a 2022 graduate of Alleghany High School, also shared her experiences through taking CCP classes. “For the last two years of high school, I took advantage of the WCC CCP program. It all started with a friendly face, and that was of Talina Pipes. Talina gave a presentation in our freshman year, and I was very overwhelmed when I saw all the career pathways. I thought, ‘I’m 14. I don’t know what I want to do with my life.’ Talina told me that was OK. She asked me what I was interested in, then she worked with my high school schedule to allow me to take as many CCP classes as possible. She told me to not overwork myself, but I wanted to take as many classes as I could fit in my schedule. A lot of the classes I took were not typical classes. I chose the Building Construction pathway, which I think is imperative to who I am today. It was actually the highlight of my college applications. I learned about plumbing, masonry, and electrical wiring. And even though that is not a degree that I am going to pursue, it is something I am going to do in my home in twenty years and I can save money on that. It’s also something good for your brain to do different sorts of things. Being able to take these classes for free was a financial relief and a huge opportunity for me.” Hazel is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Chicago.

For more information about WCC’s CCP program at the Alleghany Center, contact Talina Pipes at tlpipes811@wilkescc.edu or 336-903-3144.