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ECC/Early College Graduates Reaching for the Stars

Krystal Christopher and Oscar Lin, recent graduates of Edgecombe Community College and Edgecombe Early College High School, will head to universities soon. Christopher will attend UNC-Chapel Hill on a prestigious Morehead-Cain scholarship, and Lin will attend Yale University.

Lessons learned at Edgecombe Community College and Edgecombe Early College High School are helping two exceptional student leaders pursue a glowing future on a foundation built at home in Edgecombe County.

Krystal Christopher and Zhi “Oscar” Lin received associate in science degrees from ECC on May 10 and graduated from the Early College on May 23.

Christopher, 19, will attend UNC-Chapel Hill this fall on a Morehead-Cain scholarship, majoring in health care administration with a minor in accounting. She was one of only 75 recipients this year of the prestigious Morehead-Cain scholarship, out of 2,000 applicants, and is the first from Edgecombe County Public Schools in a quarter century. She’s also only the second female recipient from Edgecombe.

Lin, 19, of Macclesfield, will attend Yale University. He’ll major jointly in computer science and mathematics at the Ivy League bastion in New Haven, Conn. He carried the divisional flag during the ECC graduate march in May, representing the Division of Arts and Sciences. The honor goes to the graduate with the highest grade-point average from each of the program’s three academic divisions: Arts and Sciences; Health Sciences; and Business, Industry, and Technologies.

The Edgecombe Early College High School is a comprehensive five-year public high school located on ECC’s Tarboro campus. The school enrolls about 200 students, beginning in 9th grade and extending through a “super-senior” 13th grade.

The Early College is part of Edgecombe County Public Schools and accepts about 40 9th-grade applicants per year. It aims to improve the college attendance rate in the community by exposing students to a rigorous curriculum, including honors courses and college courses. Students graduate with a high school diploma and a two-year ECC degree simultaneously.

An Early College called EDGE Academy of Health Sciences is located on ECC’s Rocky Mount campus. The EDGE Academy of Health Sciences combines academics and health sciences related fields to provide students opportunities to acquire credentials and certifications in pursuit of an associate in applied science degree from ECC.

Lin noted how college classes at ECC boosted his academic development. “Attending ECC allowed me to branch out and explore subjects of interest, while providing me with rigorous academic opportunities to prepare me for the next adventure after graduation,” he says. “The Early College program provided me with the necessary tools and support that will continue to be invaluable to me in the future. It is forever a home where amazing faculty members and peers can be found.”

Looking back warmly, and whimsically, on his time at the Early College, Lin recalls “the simple moments at school: hanging out with friends, chatting with teachers, preaching the greatness of pancakes, and learning how to bowl at the cost of injuring my kneecap.”

“I had a fulfilling high school life,” Lin assures. “I have no regrets.”

He said he hasn’t solidified his career goals yet but looks forward to exploring Yale’s “serendipitous opportunities that will make me reflect on my future plans.”

Christopher, 19, a California native who lived in Tarboro before a recent move to Wilson, recounts what ECC and the Early College did for her. “Attending college classes at ECC helped me develop as a student because I had to learn how to manage my time well, set priorities, and learn how to communicate properly with my instructors. These are skills that I will take with me to college and beyond.”

Post-graduation from UNC, she plans to pursue a master’s degree, and perhaps medical school after that. She said she hopes one day to become an administrator for a women’s hospital and to “further advocate for women who experience misogyny within our healthcare system.”

“Krystal Christopher and Oscar Lin are exceptional in their drive and commitment to academic achievement,” says ECC President Dr. Greg McLeod. “They represent the finest qualities that we seek to nurture in all of our students. I know they will continue to excel in their studies and in college life at UNC and Yale. We look forward to hearing more great things from these bright young stars.”