Lee Early College Students Receive College Awards

When Central Carolina Community College had an awards ceremony honoring some more of its best students recently, two outstanding Lee County Schools students were also recognized.

Payton MilikinJunior Payton Milikin and Senior Sarah Bogan, both Lee Early College students, joined more than 100 CCCC students on April 20 and received awards for their achievements in English and science, respectively.

Milikin, 16, won the college's academic excellence in English award, meaning she was one of the school's best English students for the 2015-16 calendar year.

“I just tried my best on all of the papers I wrote this year,” she said when asked where she thinks the recognition came from, noting that she was proud of one paper in particular questioning whether or not graffiti can be classified as art (it can, she argued in the paper). “We had to analyze and compare the issue and come up with an answer.”

Just a junior, Milikin doesn't have solid plans for after school, but she has some ideas.

“Right now I think I'd like to go to UNC and study political science,” she said. “And maybe go to law school after that. But I'm not sure yet.”

Sarah BoganBogan, 18, won the school's academic excellence in associate of science award. Like the award's title says, she is set to graduate from Lee Early College this year with an associate's degree in science. The award is given to the graduate with the highest grade point average in their field of study, meaning Bogan beat out plenty of students older than her.

“I felt pretty good about myself. I thought it was pretty cool,” she said. “But we take classes with college students all the time, so it didn't feel all that out of the ordinary.”

Bogan plans to attend Campbell University (despite being clad in East Carolina attire the day of the interview) in the fall, where she'll continue studying science, specifically biology. She wants to continue on to medical school after that, a goal she said grew out of her interest in science.

“I also want to focus a lot on Spanish,” she said. “I hope to be bilingual. I think that's a really important skill to have.”

Now in its tenth year, Lee Early College is an innovative hybrid of high school and college, a partnership between Lee County Schools and Central Carolina Community College that aims to have students finish high school with enough college credits to earn both a high school diploma and an associate's degree. The school was ranked as one of North Carolina's top 50 high schools in 2014.

Lee Early College Principal Robert Biehl said having two students from Lee Early College receive awards from CCCC is “a big deal.”

“(Bogan and Milikin are) two of our top students,” he said. “It's unusual for even one of our students to win a CCCC award, let alone two. I can only think of one or two other times it's happened, and I've been here eight years. So it's a big honor for them, and for the school.”

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