Jorden Crowe graduates, to study in China this summer
Woodford County native Jorden Crowe will spend six weeks this summer living and learning on a university campus in China. Her study-abroad experience began on May 16 when she left Kentucky. "This is a great opportunity to see another part of the world and their culture. And I think it'll definitely broaden my horizons," said Jorden during an interview before her flight to Tianjin, China. "The more that you know about the world and everybody's culture, the better you can understand your own (culture)." Dixie Lowe was understandably a bit nervous about her 17-year-old daughter traveling halfway around the world, but "she has never traveled abroad so she's very excited for me - that I get this opportunity to do it," said Jorden, who will earn nine college credits while taking three classes: Chinese language, Chinese writing, and Chinese history and culture at Tianjin University. This study-abroad opportunity would not have happened if Jorden hadn't learned about a new dual-credit program for high school juniors and seniors at Morehead State University during her sophomore year at Woodford County High School. Going to a college fair hosted by WCHS and then talking to a representative from Morehead State changed her life. Jorden was told about the dual-credit program that offers free tuition and housing to qualifying high school students, and remembers telling her mom, "I think I'm really going to apply," as they walked out of the college fair. "It's always been in my plans to go to college," Jorden explained, "but it definitely did catch her off-guard when I said I wanted to do it - two years early. "That was one of my motivations. I wanted to be the first (in my family) to get a college degree." Because Jorden and her mom (a single-parent with two jobs) have always been very close - going off to college for her junior and senior years of high school was tough for both. Her "being at college two years early kind of broke my heart," said Lowe, "but it was a good experience for her. She accepted the challenge and she did very well for herself." While taking classes at Morehead, Jorden came home on weekends and kept a part-time job here. She worked with her mom at Cornerstone Pharmacy the past two summers and at Little Caesar's on weekends. "It's important for me to be independent in every way that I can just to help my mom out," explained Jorden, who knew she wanted "to be really serious about academics" after she joined the academic team at Northside Elementary School. On May 13, Jorden and 59 other academically exceptional Kentucky high school students became the first graduating class at the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics. Jorden, who earned two years of college credit hours and her high school diploma, viewed Morehead State's dual-credit program as "a good place (for me) to be challenged" academically. "I've also made some of the best friends I think I'll have for life," said Jorden, who has always felt welcomed by the Morehead State University community. She will return to Morehead State in the fall to continue her coursework toward earning an undergraduate degree in psychology. And then she plans on going to law school so she can pursue her life-long desire to become an attorney - a profession that first grabbed her attention as a young girl watching "Law & Order" and other television shows about criminal court cases. As she grew up, social law became more of an interest "because I just really have an interest in helping people," said Jorden. She views working as a legal consultant for a social services office as one avenue to assist families in need of legal aid. As for future travels, Jorden would like to visit Australia because of "their culture, and the animals ... there are just absolutely amazing. ...but Europe also really fascinates me," she said. It's this adventurous spirit that motivates Jorden to work as hard as necessary to pursue - and then grab - opportunities in life.