by J. Eric Eckard

The internet is full of quotes about opportunity. “Opportunity favors the bold.” “There are no mistakes; only opportunities.”

Seventeen-year-old Dylan Parker has worked hard to embrace opportunities that have presented themselves – particularly when it comes to his education.

Dylan Parker works on a toolbox in an Intro to Carpentry class.

Parker graduated in June from North East Carolina Preparatory School in Tarboro, and he plans to attend Western Carolina University in the fall to study construction management. He already has earned 32 college credit hours, many of which will transfer to Western Carolina.

Parker started taking classes at Edgecombe Community College the summer before his junior year in high school – earning credits in subjects from English and sociology to carpentry and blueprint reading.

“I really liked the shop classes,” Parker says. “You learn skills hands-on that you will use for the rest of your life.”

He grew up working with his hands, whether it was building a shoe rack for a family friend or helping a family rebuild their house that had burned down.

The Tarboro teen also helped install a subfloor for an ECC instructor.

Dave Rummel, the College’s Facility Maintenance Worker instructor, recommended Parker for the job.

“Dylan is one of the best and brightest students to come through my program in quite some time,” Rummel says. 

In the fall, Parker will enter the honors program at Western Carolina. But first, he is spending the summer in a study abroad program in Germany, where he will take classes in business, tax fraud, and German. 

“It’s another opportunity for me – this time to study another culture,” he says.