Tate Greene

Tate Greene isnt your average high school junior. He isnt your average high school football player. And he sure isnt your average college student.

Greene, 16, is a member of the Floyd County Early College Academy, an innovative partnership between Floyd County Schools and Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) that allows juniors and seniors to work towards an associate degree while graduating high school.

Hes also the starting kicker for the Prestonsburg football team, where he has helped guide the Blackcats to a 9-2 record. They will travel to Danville Friday in the second round of the Class 2A state playoffs.

Playing high school football and juggling college 17 credit hours to be exact is a tough task.

Im fortunate to have such a great support structure, said Greene, who also participates on Prestonsburgs tennis team. Theres a big misconception that you cant participate in programs like this and enjoy the extra-curricular activities of high school.

Greene does just that, and then some. Hes on the BSCTC Prestonsburg campus Monday through Thursday and hes at Prestonsburg High School on game day Friday, where he serves as a mentor in classes.

His hope is to earn an athletic scholarship and play college football. Hes 5-for-6 on field goals this season, including a personal and school-record 41-yard field goal he hit in a 27-20 win at Lawrence County on October 31.

Still, if football doesnt work out, college is all but a sure bet, as is getting it paid for. During his freshman year, he scored a 31 on his ACT (36 is a perfect score) as a freshman. The state requires that he take it again in the coming months.

I think I can do better, said Greene, smiling. Its a big relief knowing that I am in a position to get my education paid for. Playing football would just be icing on the cake.

Prestonsburg head football coach John DeRossett calls Greene a model player who understands the level of commitment needed to be successful in the classroom and on the field.

Our players have a lot of respect for him, said DeRossett. With all of his success, Tate is one of the most humble, respectful young men I have ever been around. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for him. His possibilities are endless.

Greene will graduate in 2016 with an Associate of Science degree. With his participation in the Floyd County Early College Academy, he has maintained all of his athletic rights within the Kentucky High School Athletic Association and the NCAA. His ultimate goal is to study biochemistry or mechanical engineering and go to pharmacy school. He also wants to do all of that while playing football.

Its really all about time management, said Greene. The transition to college has been great because it places an emphasis on your ability to complete tasks throughout a set period of time. In high school assignments are structured to be completed in some cases at the end of class or the next day.

In just its third year, the Floyd County Early College Academy has 33 participants. Last year, the first class of students completed the program, including eight students who graduated high school with an associates degree. Those eight students earned more than $300,000 in scholarships.

Greene said he would encourage students to explore opportunities within the Floyd County Early College Academy.

Im going to graduate high school with a college degree debt free, he added. Thats a big deal, and Im also being challenged in the classroom.

BSCTC also operates the Johnson County Early College Academy on its Mayo campus. The academy is comprised of students from Paintsville and Johnson Central high schools.

To learn more about the early college academies at BSCTC, contact Melinda Justice, associate dean of learning support services at (606) 889-4826 or email melinda.justice@kctcs.edu.