A select group of Blackman High School students found themselves in the spotlight recently as the school held its annual pinning ceremony for those participating in the Blackman Collegiate Academy.
Founded in 2014, BCA’s mission is to provide a high-quality, college prep program for students. Coursework includes a rigorous slate of Advanced Placement in addition to dual enrollment courses offered by Middle Tennessee State University, the BCA’s founding partner.
Approximately 90 BCA sophomores received lapel pins and certificates celebrating the completion of their freshman year, while 80 seniors presented topics for their research projects. Seniors will reveal their findings at the BCA Capstone Symposium in December.
Students are tackling subjects such as health and human performance, early childhood literacy, the correlation between dental health and overall health, how artificial intelligence can impact airline safety and the connection between music and mental health.
“I’m always so impressed by our students and what topics they decide to research,” said Principal Justin Smith in a Rutherford County Schools news release. “Our community will be the better for it.”
Research is one pillar of the program, Smith said, with academics, extracurricular activities and life experiences being the others.
Senior Benjamin Vongsiharath said students take their work seriously but enjoy being encouraged to pursue other interests.
“Each senior participates in an average of five clubs. In the BCA, you can do it all,” he said.
Amy Aldridge Sanford, MTSU’s vice provost for academic programs, addressed the crowd and encouraged students not to overlook the university just because it’s in their backyard.
“Since the academy’s founding in 2014, MTSU and Blackman have worked together closely on a number of initiatives to provide a fast track for BCA students to transfer quickly and easily to a university,” she said.
Some of those efforts include daylong field trips to the university campus for tours, workshops and research seminars. BHS and MTSU renewed a memorandum of understanding earlier this year, which gives students access to nearly all the university’s offerings.
BCA is open to students zoned for Blackman High. A parent information meeting is typically held in December. To learn more, visit https://bhs.rcschools.net/ or email Kim Baumann, BCA dean, at email@example.com.
— Story courtesy of Mealand Ragland-Hudgins, Rutherford County Schools