Graduating from High School with your class is a thrill, an honor, and a milestone moment.
But this Spring, one area student managed to take it one step further.
And, now, fresh out of high school, he's ready to start his career in Precision Machining--as we go Along the Way to the Heart of the Hills.
This time of year the business end of the main drag through Hill City is alive with tourists, traffic, and celebrating summer.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the same street, the High School halls are quiet, and the lights are out.
But before Jeremiah Spencer exited the school this Spring, he graduated with not only his High School Diploma but also his college diploma in Precision Machining from Western Dakota Tech.
Meaning this young man, is ready to enter the workforce.
Jeremiah Spencer says, "From oil rigs, coal mines, automotives, and firearms, pretty much anything in the metal working field.
I asked, Seriously?
Jeremiah says: Seriously.
I asked, Right out of high school?
Jeremiah says: Pretty much."
So how did he graduate from high school and college at the same time? He utilized a program called Dual Enrollment through Western Dakota Tech in Rapid City.
Essentially, how it works is Juniors and Seniors can earn High School credits and post secondary credits at the same time.
Jeremiah spent a lot of time at WDT, with specialized equipment that has prepared him well for a future in Precision Machining.
"Instead of like welding where you add metal, you take away metal, you shape metal, you change into different things," Jeremiah says.
Wanda Roe, Admissions Coordinator at Western Dakota Tech says, "The skills and knowledge that he gained from taking those classes is something that's going to benefit him throughout his career and his life, these are personal skills that he's gained and will always have."
It's when he starts talking about metal, that Jeremiah gets excited.
Jeremiah Spencer says, "Like if you need holes tapped, if you need bolts made, if you need engines re-bored, if you need guns, whatever on those, they pretty much make whatever you want, with the mill and the lathe you can pretty much make whatever your imagination can live up to."
Other students can do what Jeremiah did too, whether it's earning a diploma, or working toward another post secondary goal.
Wanda Roe says, "So Western Dakota Tech has a great relationship with the High School Counselors and that's where the students actually need to start."
Just like Jeremiah went through his high school counselor.
Jeremiah says, "And she helped me through it, and she pretty much got me all the information I needed, had me take the test I needed to get in."
And now, with two fresh diplomas, Jeremiah already has long range goals, dreams and plans.
Jeremiah says, "Yeah, I'm excited to get like 5-10 years experience working somewhere else actually getting the feel of the stuff, but I want to own my own machine shop one day, pretty much be a custom shop."
The great thing about Dual Enrollment is in Jeremiah's case, he paid only about 25 percent of the tuition he would have-- if he waited to take the classes until after high school
Expenses vary depending on the school district, but for details you can call Western Dakota Tech to get details.
If you've met someone cool "Along the Way" please call or e-mail us to let us know.