Two CHS students finish at Germanna
Shelbie Hill (left) and Trevor Penkwitz (right) were scheduled this week to earn associate degrees from Germanna Community College under Caroline High School's dual enrollment program. They will graduate from CHS next month.
Two Caroline High School students got a jump on graduation festivities this week.
The two were scheduled to graduate from Germanna Community College on Wednesday under the high school’s dual enrollment program.
Shelbie Hill, 17-year-old salutatorian of the CHS class of 2012, and Trevor Penkwitz, 18-year-old senior class vice president, earned associate degrees in applied sciences.
The dual enrollment program allows students the opportunity to earn an associate degree and high school diploma in tandem. When they get to college, they can focus more on their major instead of courses required for freshmen.
Hill and Penkwitz say that they are better prepared to tackle the challenge of college life. “I was able to learn study habits appropriate at the college level,” said Hill.
“We learned and are better prepared for how college courses work,” added Penkwitz, “which we wouldn’t have learned in a high school class.”
Hill plans to attend Liberty University in the fall to pursue a nursing degree as a nurse practitioner and later get a master’s degree. She wants to practice nursing in neonatal intensive care.
“I was in neonatal intensive care when I was a baby,” said Hill, “and ever since I heard that story I wanted to give back.”
Penkwitz wants to earn a master’s degree in political science at Virginia Tech after earning an undergraduate degree. He plans to work toward a doctorate after establishing himself in politics.
Penkwitz wants to run for the House of Representatives one day, but his dreams don’t end there. “I have a better chance at being elected into the House as a first-time politician,” he said. “I want to be president one day,” he added.
Penkwitz developed political ambitions while being on the school debate team. After competition that earned the team the rank of fourth in the state, he got involved in community politics.
“There’s so much that I could do as a politician,” said Penkwitz. “I want to be part of making the right choices.”
Both students participated in the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School for three years. They earned dual credits from Rappahannock Community College but later transferred to Germanna.
Both students said they had role models.
Hill credited God with helping her and thanked her brother Tré, who made her laugh when she needed it, a friend, Trevor, and her mother.
“My mom has always been my backbone,” she said. “She even stayed up with me when I had to study late into the night.”
“I am so proud of her and what she has achieved,” said Hill’s mom, Melanie Gibson.
Penkwitz was inspired by a cousin, Robbie Brooks. “Robbie is a Marine who has served in Iraq,” he said. “He’s taught me to stand for what you believe in, be brave, courageous, and have no fear.”
Both suggested that students who enter the dual enrollment program should keep a positive attitude and also have fun.
“It’s all worth it in the end,” said Hill.
Hill is involved in theater, is National Honor Society president, is a member of the Cardinal Baptist Church youth group, and works at Kings Dominion. Her hobbies include singing, acting, swimming, spending time with friends and family, and listening to music.
Penkwitz is involved in the JROTC program, National Honor Society, Boy Scouts, a hula dancing group, and also works at Kings Dominion. His hobbies include hula dancing, reading, baseball, and listening to music.
Hill is the daughter of Melanie and Mark Gibson of Ladysmith and John and Shannon Hill of Spotsylvania. Penkwitz is the son of Susan and John Tatham of Ruther Glen.
“I am proud of what these two have done,” said Susan Tatham. “They found out about the program and succeeded at it on their own. They are both amazing kids.”