ATLANTA—The largest class in the history of the DeKalb Early College Academy (DECA) graduates during the Georgia State University Perimeter College commencement Friday.
Fifty-four DECA students — most of them barely 18 years old — will be among the more than 860 Perimeter College graduates receiving associate degrees during a ceremony at Georgia State University’s stadium.
DECA is a dual enrollment program on Georgia State’s Clarkston Campus that allows students to simultaneously complete their junior and senior years of high school and their first two years of college. Students graduate from the program with the distinction of being ready for their junior year of college—wherever they are accepted.
“We have students who have been accepted at Harvard, at Howard, at Duke, at George Washington University, and at Georgia Tech — among other institutions,” said Kathy Hall, Perimeter College’s Early College program manager. Eleven DECA students are choosing to transition directly to Georgia State’s Atlanta Campus.
DECA began in 2006 as an early intervention, early college program designed to remove academic, financial and psychological hurdles that prevent historically underrepresented students from thriving in high school and college. It is a collaborative partnership between DeKalb County School System and Georgia State’s Perimeter College.
Another first for DECA is the number of students following STEM-related pathways, Hall said. For the first time in the program’s history, students pursuing STEM-related pathways — including Math, Biology, and Health Sciences — are in the double digits.
Among the students graduating Friday is Sydnie Cobb of Lithonia, who has been accepted to Harvard University. Cobb, who graduates with a 4.0 GPA, says she thrived in the DECA program and found her passion studying political science and history, joining Perimeter College’s History and Politics Club.
At Harvard, “I want to study the (political) trends of the 1950s and ’60s, because I think those trends are still relevant to today,” she said.
While at Perimeter, Cobb also worked for Georgia State’s student newspaper, The Signal, where she was a content editor.
On Monday, May 14, the DECA grads will be honored by DeKalb Schools Superintendent, Dr. R. Stephen Green, during a 7 p.m. DeKalb School Board meeting at the Robert R. Freeman Administrative Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, in Stone Mountain.