Allison Wilson got her start at Tidewater Community College while still in high school.
She participated in Early College and was part of the cohort from Churchland High School. “Making connections with people I’ve been in class with since third grade was definitely a highlight,” Allison said.
Allison is one of the 45 dual-enrollment students earning associate degrees before graduating from high school this summer. In addition, 98 high schoolers are earning TCC certificates this year.
She credits her mom, Lisa Wilson, with encouraging her to get a head start on college.
“I remember spending hours in the kitchen with my brother as we attended the Lisa Wilson ‘school of public speaking,’” Allison said with a laugh. “That was where we learned to organize our thoughts, project our voices and represent the family, whether it be at church or school.”
All those lessons paved the way for Allison to be selected as the Speaker for the Graduates for TCC’s 74th Commencement Exercises, to be held on May 9, 2022 at the Chartway Arena on the campus of Old Dominion University.
Allison is earning an Associate of Science in Social Sciences at just 17.
“I started classes at TCC with an aspiring funeral director and one of my mother’s coworkers. Even though I was considerably younger than the others, they treated me like every other student. We quickly became family and our differences didn’t matter,” Allison said.
Allison holds a 3.9 GPA and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year schools.
“Coming to TCC while still in high school was a great way to get started on college and save money. I had a great support system with my parents and grandparents,” she said. “I gained study skills that will take me through all of my years in college.”
Continuing to learn during the pandemic brought unique challenges. “Virtual learning forced us to deal with barking dogs, crying babies and spotty internet service,” Allison recalled. “But it also made time for different classes to fit into our schedules and provided unique ways to connect with classmates online.”
While at TCC, Allison remained active in her high school class serving as president of the National Honor Society, vice president of the Student Council, head delegate of the Model UN Team and a participant in the Scholastic Bowl. She also enjoyed spending time with friends and just being a teenager.
In the fall, Allison is transferring to William and Mary where she will study English and pre-law. She hopes to attend law school on the grounds as well, and one day be a state prosecutor.
Allison’s mom, dad, brother and grandparents will gather to celebrate with her at TCC’s Commencement exercises as she shares a message of encouragement.
“My message for my classmates is simple,” Allison said. “As we go to our four-year schools or start careers, we will take the lessons learned and apply them to our daily lives. We will remember the respect shown to us and replicate it. When things get hard, we push forward. Congratulations graduates!”