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Early/Middle College Celebrates Class of 2019

EMC's Lisa Bartell congratulates EMC Graduate The Kalamazoo County Early/Middle College (EMC) program celebrated its second annual completion ceremony on Thursday, May 9, at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

The EMC program, which allows students to earn an associate degree or certificate with little or no cost by completing a fifth year of high school, boasted 367 students enrolled during the 2018-19 school year, with 56 Kalamazoo County students having successfully completed the program this year at KVCC.

Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s newest president, Dr. L Marshall Washington, commended the students and their families for their hard-wrought success.

“Our best and brightest that excel academically in Early/Middle College are being celebrated tonight,” said Dr. Washington. “Through this partnership, we’ve created a great opportunity for students to get a jump start on their career.”

Dr. Washington encouraged the EMC students to never give up on their ambitions, even in the face of adversity. “Success will come when you achieve your dreams,” he said. “It’s not the scope of your dream that matters, but the fact that you have a dream and are working toward it.”

The EMC Class of 2019 was also addressed by fellow fifth-year student Stephanie Fee of Comstock High School. Fee spoke to her peers about how the EMC program has helped her to achieve more than she ever expected she would. “Being a first-generation college student, I never thought I’d be in this position of graduating from college, let alone speaking at a completion ceremony,” she said. 

Fee challenged her EMC classmates to be a source of strength for others during hardships. “I ask for you to encourage and uplift those in hard times, to help in any way possible, whether you are 18 and have no idea what you are doing, or if you have some white hairs of wisdom and words to match.”

EMC alumni Hunter Ackerman encouraged the graduates to set goals and work hard to achieve them, but to remain optimistic in the face of difficulty.

“What do you do if you can’t meet those goals?” questioned Ackerman. “Who cares! If the road you take is longer, who cares? Be wary when it comes to setting goals, try your best, but whatever happens, happens,” he said.

“Just remember the lows can be low, but the highs will always be higher. The flowers cannot blossom without a little rain. Trust that you are here for a reason,” encouraged Fee.

For more information about the Kalamazoo County Early/Middle College program, visit


Congratulations to the 2019 Class of Early/Middle College:

Climax-Scotts High School

William Swalwell


Comstock High School

Stephanie Fee

Kierra Lovelace


Gull Lake High School

Joshua Bailly

Bonnie Balkema

Conner Barnes

Logan Birchmeier

Kylee Brown

Karli Burns

Ethan Cramer

Sedona Dobson

Kelsey Ekkens

Joseph Elms

Dallas Fuller

Matthew Gelbaugh

Andrew Haase

Robert Heidarisafa

Brielle Jenner

Evan Johns

Mackenzie Jonas

Ashley Kuhse

Dade Lancaster

Benjamin Lawrence

Audrey Ledvina

Affan Malik

Caitlynn Morgan

Samuel Newhouse

Hunter Poth

Garrett Sander

Ethan Schwab

Kaitlyn Spellicy

Devon Stillwell

Tristyn TerAvest

Regan Tustin

Kylie White

Amber Willsea


Loy Norrix High School

Madison Holmer


Parchment High School

Joshua Appelgren

Thomas Guess

Lauren Heaney

Karson Linders

Stephanie Norris

Trenten Seeger

Andrew Slager

Nicholas Slater


Schoolcraft High School

Taylor Bonhomme

Zoey Dubuisson

Austin Edwards

Sean Endres

Colin Evans

Carter Hammer

Collin Hampton

Jack Hunt

Zosha Kuiper

Kristian VanGorder

Spencer Waterman