Aaron Barrow, the youngest of six siblings, followed in his family’s footsteps as a Spring 2017 graduate of Durham Tech.
Barrow, graduate of the Career and College Promise (CCP) program, said Durham Tech has always felt like family. The CCP program provides dual enrollment for North Carolina high school students to accelerate completion of college certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees that lead to college transfer at no cost.
“We’re just a super practical family,” Barrow, 17, said. “Mom and dad both graduated college without any debt so that was pretty important and they instilled that in us.”
Ranging in ages from 17 to 32, the Barrows have been a steady presence of success on the campus. All the Barrows were homeschooled, started at Durham Tech in their late teens, transferred to universities, and paid their own way through school.
“If you’re willing to work hard enough, anyone can do it,” Barrow said. “It’s not like we’re special or smarter than the average bear, I think we’re just very driven, work hard, and practical.”
A selling point for Barrow, he said, was being able to take tuition-free classes through the CCP program.
“You only have to pay for books. You’re not paying any tuition,” Barrow said. “My siblings and I got the first two years of college out of the way paying far less than we would at a 4-year institution. It’s not all about the money, of course, but it frees you up to follow your dreams more – without having the heavy weight of debt.”
From waiting tables to babysitting to working for their college newspaper, the Barrows continued to work hard to pay for school while at their universities.
“My mom is very grateful to Durham Tech and regularly sings its praises,” Barrow said. “It’s close, it’s affordable, and it welcomes people like us that are trying to get ahead.”
From oldest to youngest, the Barrows are Phillip, 32; Callie, 29; Olivia, 26; Peter, 23; James, 20; and Aaron, 17. Their accomplishments after leaving Durham Tech are no less impressive.
Phillip, transferred to North Carolina State University for mechanical engineering and now works at Boeing in Washington. Callie transferred to the University of North Carolina to study nursing and now is a traveling nurse based out of Washington. Olivia transferred to UNC for journalism, worked for prominent business journals, and is now a freelance writer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Peter received an appointment to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and will be graduating this summer with a degree in engineering. James also transferred to N.C. State for business, he will be graduating this May and already has a job lined up with Deloitte Consulting LLP in Washington, D.C.
At 17-years-old, Aaron graduated from Durham Tech on May 10 with an Associate in Engineering before transferring to N.C. State University this fall for mechanical engineering. He plans to pursue a career as an engineer for a car company.