Daniel Dawson: Not A Typical High School Student

Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Daniel Dawson in his UTC Band uniform.
Daniel Dawson in his UTC Band uniform.
- photo by Lora Dawson

Daniel Dawson of Dunlap is not your typical high school student. He is a sophomore taking college level courses at Middle College High School (MCHS) on the campus of Chattanooga State. He is also a member of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga marching band, and plays with the Soddy Daisy Lacrosse Club.

Mr. Dawson admits to being bored in high school, even in the gifted program. He was accepted at the McCallie School, but after the scholarship deadline. Fortunately, he and his parents, Lora and Greg Dawson, heard about Middle College High School at Chattanooga State. MCHS is a collaboration between the Hamilton County Department of Education and Chattanooga State that gives students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and college credit towards an associate degree at the same time. Chattanooga State instructors teach the majority of classes. Students who live outside of Hamilton County, but within Chattanooga State’s service area are eligible to attend MCHS.

“I was ready for the challenge of college,” said Mr. Dawson. He likes the maturity level of the student body. “I’m in school with people who want to be here. In high school, many of the people didn’t want to be there.”

MCHS acts as a bridge between high school and college for students who are mature enough to handle the freedom of a college environment. Students benefit from the Middle College High School experience, since it appeals to those who are dissatisfied with the typical high school environment and want to explore learning in a different, more mature atmosphere. MCHS is up to the task because students are both intellectually and academically challenged.

Mr. Dawson was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year college students earlier this year. His future plans are clearly in focus. He plans to earn a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at either the University of Tennessee, Knoxville or the University of Pennsylvania. He plans to continue his studies by earning a Master’s degree in engineering. Currently, the only thing standing between Mr. Dawson and his dreams are Pre-calculus I and II, challenges he intends to conquer with hard work and persistence.

Mr. Dawson wants a high school transcript that would really get the attention of college recruiters. The hands-on training he is experiencing through Chattanooga State’s engineering technology program will prove to be impressive. According to him, “I would recommend Middle College High School to anyone who is ready for the challenge.” When asked if he missed activities like the prom, Mr. Dawson was quick to point out that he can still attend the prom at Dunlap High School if he is invited. In addition, there is a joint prom that MCHS students can attend with students who are home schooled.

Interested parents and students are invited to attend the Middle College High School (MCHS) Preview Night on Tuesday, May 7, from 6:30 - 8 p.m. at the Hamilton County Board of Education office at 3074 Hickory Valley Road at Bonny Oaks Drive in Chattanooga.

In addition, MCHS is the only high school in the area with a 10 out of 10 rating on greatschools.com, a well-respected web site where parents can rate a school’s performance or investigate a school’s rating. The 2012 ACT average composite score for MCHS students was 23.6. The statewide 2012 ACT average composite for high school students was 19.7.

MCHS accepts rising sophomores, juniors and seniors who have an ACT score greater than or equal to 19. Applicants must receive a recommendation from their high school principal, a teacher, or a counselor. Dual enrollment grants, which are not need based, are available for 11th and 12th grade students.

More information regarding admission requirements and the application process for MCHS will be discussed during the information session. Call 423 697-4492 or logon www.chattanoogastate.edu/middle_college for further details.

Middle College High School student, Daniel Dawson
Middle College High School student, Daniel Dawson

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