When Olivia Van Buskirk was entering high school, she was asked if she would like to apply for the brand-new Wilkes Early College High School. It would be the first year for the school and after applying and getting in she knew that she had made the right decision. Olivia dove right in to her new environment. She wrote the winning essay for the mascot naming contest, and the WECHS became the “Wolves”. As a part of the legacy class Olivia would be able to attend high school and simultaneously take college courses toward her four-year degree.
When asked about her educational journey, Olivia said, “I was an average student before being accepted into the Early College High School. The freedom to explore options and take higher level course work really opened my eyes to the many possibilities and what I could accomplish.” Upon high school graduation, Olivia had earned enough college credits to enter UNC-Chapel Hill as a junior. After a semester at Carolina, Olivia decided that teaching English was her passion, and she transferred to Appalachian State University to finish her degree.
“I plan to get my master’s degree and complete my national board certification. I can’t speak highly enough of what an opportunity it was to complete two years of college while still in high school. Besides the enormous amount of money that I saved, which will afford me the ability to get my master’s degree sooner, I had an incredible, personalized experience at WCC. I am still in touch with many of my instructors and Dr. Muir comes to my class as a guest lecturer! In my experience, that is just not something that happens at big universities.”