RCEC graduates 83 in Class of 2024

Published 10:38 pm Wednesday, May 15, 2024

River City Early College (RCEC) kicked off graduation season in Vicksburg Wednesday as 83 members of the Class of 2024 received diplomas.

“Today represents a celebration for our seniors,” RCEC Principal Sheila W. Burbridge said to begin the ceremony. “The faculty and staff are extremely proud of each of you.”

RCEC falls under the umbrella of the Vicksburg Warren School District and operates as a typical four-year high school, but also¬† allows students the opportunity to earn associate’s degrees at its location at Hinds Community College’s Vicksburg campus.

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Burbridge said the Class of 2024 earned 69 associate degrees, a total of 4,372 college hours with an average GPA of 4.45, and amassed a total of $7,782,701 in awards and scholarships.

Speaking to her classmates as one of the class’s highest achievers academically, 2024 Salutatorian Astha Patel said that before coming to RCEC, she couldn’t have envisioned the difference the school would make in her life.

“Deciding what high school I wanted to attend was a challenge for me,” Patel said. “Applying to River City Early College was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to finally become a first-generation college graduate. Joining River City has been a blessing, a place where I never felt judged, a place where I felt my worth, and a place of immense support.”

RCEC Valedictorian Lauren Harmon also spoke of school’s impact on her life and recalled a conversation with her mother just before beginning high school.

“When my mom mentioned to me that I needed to be valedictorian, I got scared,” Harmon said. “I was a nervous, post-COVID 14 year old, who only knew about high school through what she saw in movies. Despite the fact that these last four years may be engrained in my mind as some of the hardest academic years of my life, I’m standing here today giving this speech as valedictorian showing (that 14-year-old girl) that it’s possible and it’s worth it.”