Three years ago Johnessa Richard began a journey that no one could ever imagine would have such an amazing ending. This spring she is earning both her high school diploma from I.C. Norcom High School and her associate’s degree from Tidewater Community College. She is the youngest student to graduate from TCC.
At the age of 14, the Norcom tenth grader entered into the TCC First College Program which is a partnership between the Portsmouth Public Schools System and Tidewater Community College. Johnessa was excited to participate in the program because it would give her an opportunity to earn college credits. After passing a series of college placement tests, she enrolled in classes. Johnessa was focused and dedicated to her studies on both high school and college campuses.
Her mother, Rosa Richard, has supported and encouraged Johnessa through her many duel courses of study. Mrs. Richard, a teacher, knows the importance of an education and has always instilled that in the minds and hearts of her two daughters. Johnessa knew that entering into the TCC First College Program while still in high school would be extremely strenuous but she welcomed the challenge.
Not only did Johnessa attend regular semester classes but night and summer school also. Throughout her three years of juggling classes between the two campuses, she maintained her honor roll status.
Johnessa’s efforts and dedication to her classes has resulted in her receiving an Associate of Science and General Studies Degree from TCC this month and a high diploma in June.
Johnessa is the first student enrolled in the TCC First College Program to receive a college degree and a high school diploma during the same spring graduation.
This fall, Johnessa will enter Old Dominion University as a junior in the Honors Program. There she will study to become a neurologist.