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A graduate with long red hair stands smiling at the camera.

Kiley Carson, 18, graduated from Cumberland Polytechnic High School on May 13, 2022. Students at the cooperative, innovative high school, which is housed on FTCC’s Fayetteville campus, are dual enrolled to earn a college degree while attending high school. Carson graduated with an associate degree in Advertising & Graphic Design.

“It’s been kind of crazy. I didn’t really know what to expect. Freshman year they cram all of your freshman and sophomore core classes in one year. So your first semester is your freshman year, and your second semester is your sophomore year. As a junior, you’re taking college classes. It was different because I know students at other high schools might be doing their own thing and going at a slower pace than what I’m doing.

“My freshman year, right when school started, there was a major fair in the Tony Rand. I was set on doing social work when I first went in. I walked in, and that’s what I was going to do. Right as I was leaving, my best friend, Katelyn Barr, pulled me over to the Design booth. She said, ‘I see you doing this.’

“I decided to take a class, and I fell in love with it. I did a lot of art with my grandpa. He’s the artist in the family. He would show me stuff when I was little. When I got into this, it felt like it was what I should be doing. It definitely felt right.

“I’m committed to Appalachian in the fall to get my bachelor’s degree in graphic design.”