Winter 2024 / Issue 9

In this Issue

Program Spotlight

Dual Credit

Alumni Spotlight

Samantha Bond

Crayton Rogers

Community Spotlight

Austen Powell

In Other Hill College News

Hill College receives Aspen Top 150 Prize

Hill College Players continue season with Spring Musical

Phillip H. Lowe Performing Arts Series continues with Voices of Fort Worth

Centennial Endowment Fund and Performing Arts Series "30 for 30"

Save the Date for the 2024 Boots & Suits event this April

Keep up with Hill College athletics

Program Spotlight: Dual Credit

The Dual Credit Program at Hill College offers high school students the opportunity to earn college credits for both higher education and technical programs, credits that will transfer to both community colleges and four-year institutions. Currently, there are over 1,700 students enrolled in dual credit courses at Hill College in 28 independent school districts (ISDs) as well as homeschool students. 

“As a parent, I’ve been very impressed at how Hill College hand selects faculty who are going to teach our students. They absolutely understand that these are young people who have never had a college experience before and the way they have come along side our students to make sure they are supported and that they are understanding the material has been very impressive,” Jill Lain, mother of former dual credit student Griffin Lain.

High school students enrolled in dual credit programs gain first-hand experience with college-level work and tend to make the transition to four-year colleges better prepared and typically complete a four-year program in a shorter period of time. These programs can play a significant role in a student’s life, allowing them to experience college-level courses, save money, and build confidence in their education and learning skills, with some even earning their associate degree in high school.

In 2023, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 8, an initiative that provides a new funding model for community colleges in the state to support dual credit programs. Part of House Bill 8 is the Financial Aid for Swift Transfer (FAST) Program geared toward helping colleges increase enrollment by offering students the option of dual credit at free or reduced tuition so that all students are given the opportunity to obtain college credits while in high school no matter their socioeconomic status.

In addition to the benefits of the FAST Program, Hill College is providing additional staff members to assist students in navigating the dual credit program and implementing the use of open educational resources (online) for textbook material, and creating an endowed dual credit scholarship fund with the goal of maximizing the number of students who cannot afford dual credit tuition.

The new funding model and the additional resources Hill College is offering allows the Dual Credit Program to further support our area high school students in their higher education, providing an advantage when entering a two or four-year college or the work force. 

“At Hill College, our commitment to student success is unwavering. Through our dual credit programs, we take pride in nurturing their academic journey. With a focus on putting students first, we strive to empower them to reach their full potential and achieve excellence. Your success is our priority at Hill College, where every step is a stride towards a brighter future,” said Director of the Dual Credit Program Daren Dorm.


Alumni Spotlight: Samantha Bond

Former Hill College student Samantha Bond

Hill College helped widen my lens to new career options I had not considered before.”

Samantha Bond is a former Hill College graduate. Born in San Marcos, Texas, and raised in Cleburne, she was homeschooled in high school. It was during those years, she decided to look into the dual credit program offered for high school students at Hill College.  


“I wanted to try something in the healthcare field,” she said, “but I hadn’t settled on which career I wanted. Hill College was affordable and right down the road and offered the flexibility for me to finish high school while obtaining my associate degree at the same time.”

Samantha chose to major in pre-physical therapy. After graduating in 2020 from high school and Hill College, she went on to major in kinesiology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she graduated in 2022.  


Samantha credits two instructors at Hill College to her academic success, Dr. Lauri Heintz and Dr. Joseph Cheavens. “Dr. Heintz taught me anatomy and physiology, she also reinforced my passion for learning about the body and its functions,” said Bond. “Dr. Cheavens was my history professor; he made history fun. I always felt that both Dr. Heintz and Dr. Cheavens were in my corner.”

Currently, Samantha is a doctorate student at the University of Texas Health Sciences in San Antonio where she is studying occupational therapy (OT). After completing the doctoral program and taking her exams, she is interested in continuing her education and specializing in OT for adults with autism spectrum disorder and other intellectual disorders, as well as pursuing research regarding OT in women's health. 

“Hill College helped widen my lens to new career options I had not considered before. My connections with professors and faculty turned into professional relationships. I still maintain relationships that were made there, both professionally and with friends,” said Bond.


Alumni Spotlight: Crayton Rogers

Former Hill College student Samantha Bond

Hill College was close to home and offered a great program with flexible class times, including online courses.”

In March of 2023, Crayton Rogers joined the staff at Hill College as a PC technician. A former Hill College student, Crayton began taking dual credit courses in 2010 while in his last year of high school in Grandview, Texas. 

Not sure of his future career path, he began working as a casing operator in Woodward, Oklahoma, in 2013. By 2018, he was promoted to the position of safety coordinator. In two years, he led the company to a rating of no recordable incidents with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). 

In 2020, Crayton’s father passed away. His mother was dealing health issues of her own and the yard he was working on was shut down and he was let go. Faced again with what to do with his future, he decided to move back to Grandview. With the COVID pandemic still in full force and wanting to support his family, he returned to Hill College and enrolled in the Cyber Security Program. 

A large part of his decision to pursue cyber security was job security. COVID proved that certain industries could withstand an economic shutdown, cyber security and IT being one of them. “Hill College was close to home and offered a great program with flexible class times, including online courses,” said Crayton. 

Crayton graduated from Hill College in 2023 with an Associate of Applied Science in cyber security. He credits Jackie Armstrong, instructor of computer science, with his success. “Jackie gave me the opportunity to thrive at Hill College, allowing me the chance to compete in some of the most prestigious cyber security competitions in the United States. She has been a rock for me. I couldn’t have asked for a better instructor. She will be forever part of my family.”

In both 2022 and 2023, Crayton placed in the top 500 at the National Cyber League, earning three top 500 coins. He placed 16th out of over 1,000 contestants in a team competition at the National Cyber League. He received a certificate from the National Security Administration (NSA) for competing in the National Centers of Excellence NSA Cyber Exercise. He also received an Outstanding Academic Achievement award in cyber security from Hill College in 2023.

“Thanks to my education and the support I have received at Hill College, I am more available to my children and my wife.”


Community Spotlight: Austen Powell

Austen Powell, Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives and Sponsored Projects Administration at Southwestern Adventist University.

“I never imagined I would be where I am today, but when I saw the opportunity to support our students, I taught myself how to write grants and develop student success programs so that we could create meaningful opportunities for our students.”

Austen Powell is the assistant to the president for strategic initiatives and sponsored projects administration at Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU) in Keene, Texas. During his senior year in high school, Austen began taking dual credit general education and business courses at Hill College. After graduating from high school and taking the college credits he earned from Hill College, he went on to get his bachelor’s degree in theology from SWAU. He then went on to get a master’s in divinity from Andrews University as well as an MBA from the University of Texas at Tyler. 

Before joining SWAU, Austen was a youth pastor in Cleburne, Texas, serving the community where he grew up. His work in the ministry has influenced his career path and is a large part of why he is in the role he is at SWAU. Austen oversees three initiatives at the university—promoting the SWAU to the community and developing strategic partnerships, grant writing, and managing the office of student success, ranging from career guidance, assisting transfer students, advising, ensuring first-year student success, and overseeing undergraduate research.

“What encouraged me to pursue this position was my passion for the students at Southwestern Adventist University. I had never written a grant or led any student success initiatives. I never imagined I would be where I am today, but when I saw the opportunity to support our students, I taught myself how to write grants and develop student success programs so that we could create meaningful opportunities for our students,” said Austen.

When reflecting on his time at Hill College, Austen credits Ruth Garratt for encouraging him to improve his writing skills. During his senior year in high school, while taking a remedial English class as a dual credit course, she taught him how to write and continued to support him in his education. 

“When I began by education at SWAU for my bachelor’s degree and took my first English course, I had one of the highest grades in the class and was chosen to share my work with the class on multiple occasions. I went from hating to read and write to loving it, thanks to her. Today I have written numerous grant proposals, many of which were over 50 pages. It’s amazing how one class at Hill College changed the trajectory of my life forever.”


Support the Centennial Endowment Fund

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram