Our Story: Shoulders family makes the most of homeschool dual enrollment

July 12, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (July 12, 2017)— When Elijah Shoulders, 20, graduated from Tallahassee Community College in May, he was the first of the Shoulders siblings to walk in TCC’s commencement ceremony—but not the first to attend TCC.

Shoulders familyParents Doug and Lorie Shoulders have five children, all of whom Lorie has homeschooled. When oldest son Jed was entering 11th grade, Lorie encouraged him to try the dual enrollment program at TCC. The program allows high school students, including homeschooled students, to take college credit courses for free.

Jed dual enrolled at TCC from 2005 to 2007 and then went on to attend TCC as a true college student, earning two associate degrees at the same time—one in Drafting and Design and another in Building Construction. He now works at Shoulders Services, father Doug’s commercial construction subcontractor business.

Hannah Shoulders, 25, followed in her brother’s footsteps as a dual enrolled student from 2008 to 2010. She earned an Associate in Arts degree in 2012 and is now an administrative assistant at Michael Ufferman Law Firm in Tallahassee.

So, when Elijah started his dual enrollment at TCC in 2013, the family knew what to expect and Lorie was no longer “scared to death,” as she had been when Jed started. After completing his high school requirements, Elijah enrolled as a traditional student at TCC. He graduated in May with a perfect 4.0 GPA and will enroll in the University of Florida’s Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering in the fall.

Although some students dual enroll so that they can earn all the credits required for an associate degree while still in high school—for free—the Shoulders siblings used dual enrollment to give them more flexibility later when they enrolled at TCC as traditional age college students. Having already earned some credits allowed them to take fewer classes each semester and focus on getting top grades, work part-time, or earn more than one degree, as Jed did.

The two youngest Shoulders children are making their own way as well. Jonah, 18, briefly enrolled at TCC in 2015 before moving to the Automotive Service Technology program at Lively Technical Center. Youngest son Josiah is currently being home schooled and working part-time in his father’s construction business.

Lorie Shoulders said she appreciated the support that TCC offered her children, both when they were dual enrolled and later in their college careers.

“All my kids got to know some of their teachers very well. My daughter got very close to her photography teacher, her art teachers, just very, very close relationships. It was nice to see that for my kids, having those relationships and having that support. I think that was a big part of their success there.”