Chris Asbery, 27, says when he was in high school, he didn’t know what his mother meant when she said she’d love to see him bring the same dedication to academics as he did to sports. He certainly knows now.
“In high school, I was definitely sports-oriented. I’ve taken a 180 since then,” he says.
Just like his mom had noticed, sports received most of his attention in school.
He graduated from Boyle County High School in 2002 and even had a couple of transferable vocational college credits under his belt, but it took some time for him to change his focus to one that put him on the path he is on today.
He was an average baseball player, a pitcher, and an average student. He may never have found out just how smart he was or how successful he could be if not for at least knowing what he wanted to be, that this would require some higher education and that he could get what he needed from Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Danville.
“I knew what I wanted to do since I was in seventh grade. One of my friends’ dad worked for KU, and I liked to hear him talk about what he did,” he says. “And I knew then that’s what I wanted to do, probably because I already knew I liked figuring out how stuff worked.”
Asbery was in BCTC’s first graduating class in 2004. From there, he went on to complete a four-year degree at Western Kentucky University. He will complete his master’s to receive an advanced degree in engineering at the University of Kentucky this year. He credits BCTC with teaching him, first off, how to learn.
“When I first came to BCTC, I couldn’t even get in until I took a couple of math classes,” he says.
Asbery thinks going directly from high school to UK would have been a bad idea for him, and he is grateful for the time and attention he received to find his focus and develop a level of maturity that has allowed him to get his thinking up from becoming an electrician to calling himself an engineer.
Asbery says he benefited greatly from the small class sizes at BCTC taught by teachers who also know a thing or two about dedication.
“When I’m in a calculus or physics class now with probably 400 other students, I wish I could take that class at BCTC. The one-on-one really makes a difference,” he says.
From having to complete two math classes before being accepted at BCTC to graduating with an associate’s degree in arts and science with a 3.75 grade-point average, Asbery found his focus there.
He kept it, too. He left Western with a 3.7 GPA and currently has a 3.7 at UK.
He is on the board now at BCTC and is a booster for the benefits of community colleges in general and BCTC in particular.
“Some parents, maybe because of having been in a fraternity or whatever, look down on community colleges, but I’d say to them to not frown upon community colleges. It’s a really good way to get a degree or to start on a degree.
Asbery works for Inter-County Energy and credits BCTC with being the place where his dedication — just like Mom wanted — turned to academics.
Cause for celebration
BCTC is celebrating 10 years since first opening its doors in Danville in 2002. Enrollment has grown from 200 to 1,602 students registered.
Trends suggest the school is riding the wave of change in the education model.