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Richmond Hill senior making the most out of a passion for culinary art
Rachel Peeples, Savannah Technical College student and Richmond Hill High School senior, had to wait until she was old enough for dual enrollment. After a year of pursuit, she is now working with a family-owned bakery, All Things Chocolate and More in Richmond Hill. - photo by Stephen B. Morton

SAVANNAH – Savannah Technical College takes hands-on learning to a whole new level with final exams.
While many college students typically study hard for final exam questions, STC Culinary Arts Baking and Pastry students spent weeks working on their Cake Decorating final exam.
Their final exam assignment was to create a two-tier wedding cake that demonstrated at least eight decorating techniques. This summer after cakes were scored for the final exam grade, a panel of judges picked Rachel Peeples’ work as the best.
Peeples is not your typical STC Baking and Pastry student or a typical teenager. Now 17, this Richmond Hill High School senior is focused on her goal of owning a bakery and is taking some important steps to get there, beginning with dual enrollment with STC’s Baking and Pastry program.
As a dual enrollment student for the past year, she earned high school and college credit at the same time, taking some classes at Savannah Technical College and some classes at high school. This semester, she will finish her seventh college class and expects to be nearly halfway through the associate degree when she graduates high school in May 2015.
For fall 2014, she has enrolled in the Move on When Ready (MOWR) program, which allows high school students to attend classes at college full time. MOWR students simultaneously earn high school and college credit, but also graduate with their high school class.
Peeples plans on working her way through the remainder of the program and continuing on with business classes to prepare for owning a business.
She’s had her eye on this career for years, she notes, recounting a longstanding fascination with the television program, Cake Boss. “I see all of the artistic things that can be done with cake – and it’s all edible,” she says. “I fell in love with the Baking and Pastry program. Now that I’ve entered some competitions and done well, I see that I’m creating amazing pieces of art.” Her student team earned first place at last year’s Gingerbread House Competition at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa.
Her perseverance has been noticed and rewarded. She had to wait until she was old enough for dual enrollment and after a year of pursuit, she is now working with a family-owned bakery, All Things Chocolate and More in Richmond Hill, Ga.   
For Peeples, it’s year four or a five-year plan. Inspired by her grandmother, she took smart steps to get started. “She taught me that planning ahead and setting goals is the way to success. Once I complete this, it will be time to make a new plan – one to open the bakery,” she said.
High school students, like Peeples, have options to jump start their career and college education through dual enrollment. With the dual/joint enrollment program for certificate and diplomas high school students, 16 or older, have the opportunity to earn post-secondary and secondary credits, while simultaneously enrolled in college, university or technical institutions. The HOPE Grant pays partial tuition and partial fees for dual/joint enrollment.
In Georgia, high school students are responsible for fees not covered by HOPE, supplies, and any other costs that may exceed the book allowance. But, thanks to local agreements with school districts in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham and Liberty Counties, all tuition-related costs are covered. Books and supplies may be the only expenses for high school students in dual enrollment.
The ACCEL dual enrollment program allows high school students to take college core degree-level courses paid at 100% like English, mathematics, sciences and social sciences apply them to high school graduation. Savannah Technical College offers 27 courses that transfer to any University System of Georgia college or university, which are approved through this program.
With MOWR, students attend college classes full-time, whether for a degree, diploma or certificate program. These MOWR students will still graduate with their high school class.
The college credits hours earned while a student is participating in any dual enrollment program, do not count towards their HOPE cap. To be eligible for one of these options, high school students must meet the following criteria:
* Be currently enrolled in an accredited Georgia high school including public or private, as well as homeschool students.
* Have acquired ASSET/COMPASS test scores for selected program of study (appropriate SAT or ACT test scores may be used).
* Be at least 16 years of age.
The deadline for high school students to enroll in these programs for STC’s fall semester is August 22. For more information visit or contact STC’s High School Initiatives Coordinator Christopher Williams at or 912.443.5347.

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