All in the family: BSCTC has played role in success of Wright family


Special to The Times



PRESTONSBURG – For Joel Wright, it was a road well-traveled. So, when it came time to deciding on college, he looked to his dad, his brother, his other brother, and, yes, his other brother for guidance.

Enter Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC). Wright, 19, of Prestonsburg, graduated from Prestonsburg High School in 2014. The decision of where to attend college loomed.

“A lot of my friends wanted to leave home and attend school,” he recalled. “I understood that, but I also understood that many of them would experience shell shock leaving home, going from small classes to lecture halls of hundreds of students and other factors.”

Community college has worked for the Wright family. Joel’s father, Dr. Terry Wright, graduated from Prestonsburg Community College. He operates a family practice clinic in the Floyd County community of Lackey. His other brother, Dr. Brady Wright, a BSCTC graduate, is in his final year of residency at the University Of Louisville. Joel’s third brother, Corey, also graduated from BSCTC and attended the Appalachian College of Pharmacy in Grundy, Va.

“I didn’t have to look far for guidance,” Joel said, laughing. “Community college, specifically Big Sandy Community and Technical College, has worked for our family.”

Joel said the small class sizes and interaction with faculty sets community colleges apart from universities. “I know sooner or later I will attend a university, but the first two years [at Big Sandy] have provided me so much opportunity and has prepared me to transfer with confidence,” he said.

Joel plans to earn an undergraduate degree in Biology and attend the University of Louisville Medical School to follow in his father and brother, Dr. Brady Wright’s, footsteps. He plans to become a neurologist.

Dr. Tom Vierheller, professor of Biology at BSCTC, said stories like Joel’s are not unique to BSCTC. Matter of fact, Dr. Vierheller said several of his students have gone on to earn medical degrees.

“We take great pride in providing quality courses with a personalized approach,” said. Dr. Vierheller. “I like the fact that I get to know my students, and I stay connected with many of them throughout their career.”

BSCTC is currently enrolling for the Fall semester.

New and returning students can take advantage of a Registration Blitz on August 10-11 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; August 12-13 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; and August 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the Prestonsburg, Pikeville and Mayo campuses.

Classes start on Monday, August 17.

Every four-year public institution in the state raised their tuition this year except the 16 schools that comprise the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). The average yearly tuition at BSCTC is more than $5,000 less than that of four-year public state institutions.

The college offers the state’s lowest tuition, four convenient campus locations (Prestonsburg, Pikeville, Paintsville and Hager Hill) and online course options. For more information, call 1-855-GO-BSCTC or visit www.bigsandy.kctcs.edu.

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Special to The Times

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