FAST TRACK: Participation in a concurrent enrollment program known as EXCELerate helped Webster Senior Zebulon Peterson earned the Gates Millennium Scholarship.
Tulsa Public Schools and Union Public Schools juniors and seniors, and limited sophomores can earn college credits while working for a high school diploma through EXCELerate, a concurrent enrollment partnership with Tulsa Community College.
EXCELerate is a pilot program in partnership with Tulsa Community College to offer high school students valuable college experience without leaving the supportive environment of their own schools. EXCELerate operates under special requirements approved by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Expanded tuition and fee waivers have been implemented for students in the EXCELerate pilot program.
One of the students participating in the EXCELerate program at TPS is Webster High School’s Zebulon Peterson. Peterson is the recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship valued at up to $250,000.
The scholarship is provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and awards students with full tuition, room, board and even books from freshmen year to doctorate level. More than 20,000 students compete for the award every year but only 1,000 are given out nationwide.
Peterson plans to attend Oklahoma State University in the fall and major in philosophy and physiology with the long-term goal of becoming a lawyer.
When asked how taking part in EXCELerate has helped Peterson prepare for college, he replied, “Taking college courses through the EXCELerate program has given me a better understanding of the workload required for a college course. I realize that I may only have 3 grades for a class instead of 30. I really like the environment of a college classroom. I would encourage students to take concurrent courses because it gives you the chance to see that you can do well in college and then go to college with the confidence you need to be successful. I am thankful for the fee waivers which made it easier for me to participate.”
For more information regarding the EXCELerate program at TPS, call Vicki Simmons, concurrent enrollment coordinator at 918-595-8482.