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John Rowland, a 2014 graduate of Johnson Central High School, will graduate with an Associate in Arts degree from Big Sandy Community and Technical College in May.  He has been accepted to the University of Kentucky, where he plans to study communications.

John Rowland had many, many choices when it came to continuing his education.

I remember getting all the mail, emails and brochures, said Rowland, 19, a 2014 graduate of Johnson Central High School. I was like a lot of high school students, I wanted to graduate and get out of town.

As the decision of where to attend college inched closer, Rowland started exploring his options. Chief among the factors was cost.

I didnt want to go to college and have to work to pay a second mortgage in student loans, said Rowland, chuckling. I wanted an affordable option to a college education.

Enter Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC). Rowland knew a lot about the college and its offerings. He had met with Jennifer Wilson, a BSCTC recruiter, on several occasions and had participated in the colleges Quick Start program, which allows high school students to earn substantial college credit while in high school.

When I started thinking about everything, I didnt want to be away from home, and I wasnt exactly sure about what I wanted to major in, recalled Rowland. At the end of the day, Big Sandy Community and Technical College made a lot of sense in so many ways.

Rowland, a two-time SkillsUSA state champion in web design and state SkillsUSA officer, earned the prestigious Honors Scholarship at BSCTC, covering his tuition. Through the Honors program, Rowland is required to volunteer and give back to his community.

The Honors program has taught me so much about the importance of giving back to your community and understanding that the power lies in us to make our communities better, said Rowland.

Rowland volunteers at Johnson Central High School, where he was a member of the schools television and journalism program. He also volunteered in the college relations department at BSCTC and made such an impression that earned a part-time job with the department.

Weve learned so much from John, and hes brought a students perspective to our many projects, said Joshua Ball, director of college relations at BSCTC. Rowland spent many hours compiling a tribute video to former BSCTC President and CEO Dr. George D. Edwards. The video featured tributes from faculty and staff, as well as a parody from WYMT and messages from Congressman Hal Rogers and former KCTCS President Dr. Michael B. McCall.

Rowland will graduate in May with an Associate in Arts degree from BSCTC. He has already been accepted to the University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information.

When asked what advice he would give a high school senior deciding on where to attend college?

Put yourself in a position to earn a degree with little or no debt, he said. Its ok to stay close to home, get your basics and find out exactly what path you want to take.

To learn more about enrolling at BSCTC, visit or call 1-855-GO-BSCTC.