“The dual enrollment program,” says Canice Graziano, the new dean overseeing that department at Rappahannock Community College, “is a bridge that connects the entire community — including high school students, parents, high school staff, and faculty — to RCC.”
Her expectation is that the program will give high school students an understanding of what it takes to succeed at college, through applying and qualifying for, and then participating in college courses while still in high school.
Herself a product of the Virginia Community College System, Graziano earned an associate of arts and sciences degree in education from Germanna, then a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies in Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University, and master of public administration from Virginia Tech.
She returned to Germanna’s Counseling Center for her first post-college job, initially planning student activities and recruitment at area high schools, and later advising students. For the past ten years she has managed GCC’s dual enrollment program; this type of work, she says, has been the “high point” of her career.
“I so appreciate getting to see firsthand the dedication and commitment of high school counselors, administrators, and teachers, and I have great respect for what they do to help students prepare for careers and higher education.”
The dual enrollment courses on which Graziano collaborates with area high schools allow students to “transition into a college course with all the support of both RCC and their high school. Students who may have never considered college before can come out of high school with not only earned college credits and certifications, but also a much better understanding of how they can benefit from RCC’s many degree and certificate offerings,” she says.
For the future, Graziano hopes to help the community learn more about dual enrollment courses, particularly the RCC Scholars Program, through which high school and homeschooled students can take evening and weekend classes on any RCC campus at a greatly reduced rate. “When parents learn about these opportunities, they are very excited to be able to have a son or daughter participate because they know they are giving them a wonderful opportunity to experience college at a very affordable cost.”
Graziano and her husband currently live in Fredericksburg, as do their two grown children and their first grandchild. “And there is another on the way!” she reports. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, traveling, and spending time with her family.