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Beazley gift lets TCC expand its Portsmouth dual-enrollment program

Photo from left: Dr. Elie Bracy, Portsmouth Schools superintendent; Judge Richard Bray, president and CEO of the Beazley Foundation; Mike King, chair of the TCC Educational Foundation Board; TCC President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani; and Portsmouth Campus Provost Michelle Woodhouse

Tidewater Community College’s Educational Foundation announced a major expansion of the college’s dual-enrollment program on January 26 that will allow more high school students in Portsmouth Public Schools to jump start their college careers.

The expansion is made possible thanks to a $125,000 gift from the Beazley Foundation. Judge Richard Bray, president and CEO of the foundation, presented the check at a special ceremony at the Portsmouth Campus on Thursday. Elie Bracy, superintendent of Portsmouth Public Schools, also attended the presentation.

“As a college president, I am a huge fan of dual enrollment,” said TCC President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani. “It’s clear from research that students who complete more than one dual enrollment course are more likely to finish college, and once they’re in college, their GPAs are higher.”

Portsmouth’s dual-enrollment program, First College, allows qualified high school students to take TCC classes and attain college credits. Since the program began in 2006, more than 1,200 students have earned college credit through TCC, many of them tuition-free thanks to support from the Beazley Foundation.

Currently, seniors have an opportunity to graduate with at least 18 college credits in programs focusing on either college transfer or career/technical fields, including welding, automotive and computer-aided drafting and design.

The additional investment from the Beazley Foundation allows TCC to expand those offerings to pathways in cybersecurity and nurse aide training.

In addition, TCC will create a First College Scholars Graduate Academy that will provide pathways for students to complete a high school diploma and a Certificate in General Education. Generally, the certificate fulfills first-year requirements at TCC and four-year colleges and universities.

Finally, a new Early College Academy will provide pathways for ninth-graders to begin dual enrollment and complete a high school diploma concurrently with one of three associate degrees at TCC.

“This is definitely a superintendent’s dream to have their students have the opportunity to earn college credit,” Bracy said. “We can have our students graduate from high school with a diploma and a college degree. As a parent I know that’s only two years of college I have to be responsible for.”

Bray said Fred Beazley, who donated the land to the commonwealth for TCC’s first campus in North Suffolk in 1968, would be overwhelmed by the evolution of the college. He said the foundation is excited to support the expanded program that will have so much impact on the lives of young people.

“This is a remarkable opportunity to introduce students in the ninth grade to an educational process that will forever change their lives,” Bray said. “It’s not going to be an abstraction to them. They’re going to know about TCC. There are going to be counselors to advise them about TCC and the opportunities available to them at TCC.”

Portsmouth Campus Provost Michelle Woodhouse expressed her appreciation of the Beazley Foundation. The new Portsmouth Campus, which opened in 2010, is officially the TCC Beazley Campus.

“With the cost of college these days, the Beazley Foundation’s support continues to be a huge benefit for our students and their families,” she said.

For information on TCC’s dual-enrollment academies, contact coordinator Katina Barnes at 757-822-2258 or