May 21, 2019
As a youngster, Jachin Friday did not gravitate toward playing with toys like most other children his age. Sports did not particularly interest him. But knowledge did. That early fascination has paid off.
Jachin is headed to Duke University this fall after graduating from Alamance Community College this spring with an Associate in Science degree.
Technically, the prestigious private university only accepts high school graduates as freshman students, and has no transfer agreement with other colleges in line with its extremely high acceptance standards. Alamance Community College is unaware of the last time an ACC graduate enrolled at Duke University.
But Jachin Friday has beaten those odds. This August, as an Alamance Community College graduate of the school’s Career and College Promise (CCP) program, he will commence his studies as an economics and mathematics major in Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences.
This follows by a year the acceptance of another ACC graduate – Jachin’s friend, Christian Williams, who began his academic career at M.I.T. last fall.
“We realized early on that we had a child who wanted to challenge himself intellectually all the time,” said Jachin’s father, Shad Friday, who works in information technology at Lowe’s. “He spent more time reading non-fiction than playing. And he self-studied geometry well before most kids took the course,”
“I have always liked solving problems,” said Jachin.
Jachin matriculated through eighth grade in the public schools in Cary, NC until his family moved to Burlington. That’s when his parents decided to homeschool Jachin in a rigorous year of study that included advanced courses in order to satisfy both ninth and tenth grade requirements. Then the family learned of a too-hard-to-resist opportunity offered by Alamance Community College – the free Career and College Promise (CCP) program.
CCP offers high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to take free college credit classes at ACC while still earning their high school diploma. The numbers continue to rise for ambitious 16- and 17-year-old students who are earning credits to graduate from ACC with an associate degree and transfer to a four-year university as a rising junior.
Jachin has done just that, taking rigorous CCP courses that include Calculus I, II, and III, physics and microeconomics, and critical thinking. When he enrolled at ACC in August 2017, he knew he wanted to focus on courses where he could use his mathematics-savvy mind. But he zeroed in on economics and microeconomics after taking ACC instructor Steve Olson’s classes.
“Mr. Olson is the person who peaked my interest and channeled the material into something productive,” said Jachin. “Previously I didn’t have a real basis to analyze economics, but Mr. Olson provided a platform to apply it.”
Jachin was accepted into ACC’s new Honors Cohort program. He also took advantage of extra-curricular campus opportunities at ACC. He founded an Economics Club and serves as its president. He is also a member of the ACC Math Club.
Jachin started paying attention to college rankings and saw that Duke ranked number eight in the nation. It became something of a running joke in the Friday family because both parents graduated from UNC and Jachin’s older brother, Jamin, also went through ACC’s CCP classes and is a student at Chapel Hill now.
“The plan was for all of us, our entire family, to go to UNC. It was part of the master plan, you might say. But somehow Jachin went to the Dark side, the Dark Blue side,” joked Shad Friday.
Jachin said he went back and forth on UNC and Duke for a couple of years before settling on Duke because he came to believe it would better serve his long-term goals. Still, as bright as he was, Jachin was not convinced he had what Duke University wanted in a student.
“When I applied to Duke, I really didn’t think I’d get in. It’s a hard school, after all. But when I put the application together I thought maybe, maybe.”
Not only did Duke University accept Jachin as a student for fall 2019, the school provided, in father Shad Friday’s words, “a very generous financial aid package.”
Shad Friday is convinced that the availability of challenging classes at ACC contributed to his son’s acceptance at Duke. “I would tell any student who has ambitions of moving on to a top-ranked university to take the most rigorous classes available. Taking higher maths and sciences is especially important.”
While Duke does not accept transfer credits from community colleges or offer placement tests, Jachin will work with admissions on receiving a bye for some courses.
Jachin’s ambition is a career in data or financial management. But his tenure at Duke University may open him to new opportunities and interests.
“I don’t want to pigeon hole myself. I just know that I’ll always be interested in anything that requires me to think,” said Jachin.