Hattiesburg student earns 2nd degree after graduating Jackson State in only 2 years

Hattiesburg High grad grabs 2nd degree at age 20
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 10:52 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) -One Pine Belt college student’s journey began while she was still in high school.

Hattiesburg native Centirea Petersen graduated from both Hattiesburg High School and Pearl River Community College in 2021 through Hattiesburg’s middle college program.

“It was a lot,” Petersen said. “More work comes with responsibility, but it was fun. We had other people in the program, kind of like we were in it together. So, I didn’t really feel alone, like I couldn’t do it.”

The Hattiesburg native is one of the dozens who have come through Hattiesburg’s middle college program. It’s a partnership with PRCC.

“So, student achievement is foremost our definite focus when we do such programs like the middle college program,” said Jermaine Brown, Hattiesburg School District career/technical advisor. “The middle college program provides them a leg up. Just the opportunity to get the associate of arts degree and the high school diploma at the same time. It’s just something they can’t pass up.”

As Petersen celebrates her accomplishments—and looks ahead at what’s next, she’s sharing advice with others who are considering a similar path.

“I would say definitely do it if you know you want to do it,” Petersen said. “Like I said, it comes with a lot. It comes with challenges. You have to be certain that it’s what you want for yourself and not what someone else wants for you.”

After wrapping up her bachelor’s degree at Jackson State University this spring, Peterson said she is hoping to study next at the University of Southern Mississippi for a master’s degree in epidemiology.

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