HI HAT – The typical teenager spends their time hanging out with friends and sliding by high school the easiest way possible. Zach Hall, a senior at Wesley Christian Academy, is not the typical teenager. This year, the young senior made history as the first Wesley Christian student to enter and graduate from the Big Sandy Community and Technical College’s Early College Academy.
Hall was among the graduates eagerly awaiting the chance to walk across the stage at the commencement ceremonies on Friday at the Mountain Arts Center, weeks before getting his high school diploma from Wesley Christian. He graduated from BSCTC with an Associate in Arts and Science degree. Criteria for earning a spot in the Early College Academy is competitive. Students must not only meet the criteria for admission to BSCTC, but also meet GPA requirements, community involvement and extra-curricular activities. When granted admission into the Early College Academy, Hall was awarded a scholarship that paid for his tuition to attend BSCTC.
Hall’s quest for academic excellence began when he was a freshman. He transferred to Wesley Christian from South Floyd High School at the end of his freshman year. It was during his freshman year he applied for the Robinson Scholars Program. The competition for admission to the program is also competitive with only the elite students being chosen for admission. He was chosen as a Robinson Leader as a freshman. After participating in the Robinson Leaders Program, Hall was the Floyd County student chosen for the Robinson Scholars Program. As the recipient of the Robinson Scholars award, Hall will enroll at the University of Kentucky or any KCTCS community college in August. He will receive a full scholarship (tuition and fees, room and board, and a book allowance), as well as extra services to help achieve their academic goals.
“We are so proud of Zach and thankful for the Robinson Scholars Program, said Tammy Hall, the young college graduate’s mother. “We have always stressed the importance of education. I have told him knowledge and education is something no one can take away from you. Naomi Hagen and George Scott staff with the Robinson Scholars Program, have become a part of our family. I feel good knowing they are available to Zach when he begins his journey at the University of Kentucky in the fall.”
As a student at Wesley Christian Academy, Hall was a member of the Talented and Gifted program, Academic Team and the boys’ basketball team. As a junior, he played on the Wesley Christian team that won the Kentucky Christian Athletic Association state championship in 2015. A knee injury sidelined Hall during his senior year and he was not able to play basketball.
“Being a part of the Early College Academy has really been an eye opening experience for me,” said Zach Hall. “One of the toughest challenges was holding myself accountable for attending class, studying and completing assignments. In order to graduate this year, I had to take 24 college hours in addition to my regular high school classes at Wesley Christian.”
Hall shared his first college experience with his mother Tammy Hall, who was also a student at BSCTC. Tammy Hall graduated in 2015 with a 4.0 GPA and an Associate in Applied Science. She was one of the lucky nine chosen from hundreds of applicants for admission to the Dental Hygiene Program. She will begin the program in the fall.
“Going to college with Zach was a unique bonding experience,” Tammy Hall said. “We had lunch together, rode to school together and really got to know each other. It was important to me to be a role model for both of my children. I want my boys Zach, Landon and anyone who wants to go to college or pursue a dream, but are afraid of failure that you are never too old to chase your dream. I am very excited to start this new exciting chapter in our life. I volunteered to observe and work at Dr. Seth Hyden’s office when I considered the Dental Hygiene program. When I walked into the office and observed the girls and Dr. Hyden work, I knew instantly this was the career for me.”
Tammy Hall will be returning to BSCTC in the fall as a student in the Dental Hygiene program. Zach Hall will move into Baldwin Hall, a resident hall at U.K, where he will enroll as a junior. Taking advantage of the Early College Academy has given Zach Hall a jump start on his college education and career. He plans to major in Public Health Administration/Pre-Med. His ultimate career goal is to be an orthopedic surgeon. Being an athlete most of his life, Zach Hall loves all sports and experienced an injury that impacted his high school basketball career.”
“Having knee surgery and not being able to play basketball was tough,” Zach Hall said. “I understand the desire athletes have for their sport and I want to help them recover from injuries and get back on the court or field and be even better than they were before their injury.”
Zach Hall, a 2016 BSCTC graduate, will don the tassel one more time this year. He will graduate from Wesley Christian on May 26 at 6 p.m. Zach Hall is the son of Rueben and Tammy Hall of Hi Hat.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at 606-886-8506.