Stories of Excellence–Michael York

Michael York is a uniquely dedicated young man. With a drive one might expect from someone several years his senior, York stands out in his studies and in his job. And at just 18 years old, his impact on the world is only just beginning.


A Statesville resident, York attended the Collaborative College for Technology and Leadership (CCTL) located on the Statesville Campus of Mitchell from 2014-2018. Taking both high school and college-level courses, York excelled at this rigorous early college program. In just four years–the same amount of time most students spend at a traditional high school–York earned his high school diploma and an Associate in Science degree from Mitchell. He will begin classes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall.


Even with his rigorous class schedule at Mitchell, York still participated in extracurricular activities, rounding out his educational experience. He was a member of the Robotics club with CCTL and sat on the Superintendent’s Advisory Council with Iredell-Statesville Schools. York tutored various math courses through Mitchell’s MIND Center. After taking only one physics class, York was honored with the Physics Award at Mitchell’s 2018 Awards Convocation.


Even though his future plans will carry him to other institutions, York’s time at Mitchell will always be meaningful for him. “My favorite thing was interacting with my instructors,” he said, noting that larger classes at bigger institutions make one-on-one engagement more difficult to interact. While he enjoyed learning from all his instructors at Mitchell, his courses with Dr. Nancy Payne and Dr. Pam Khurana really made an impact on his educational outlook. Not only did he enjoy the subjects and their style of teaching, but he also appreciated their extraordinary support of students.


While planning for the future can be difficult, York encourages students who intend to transfer to a 4-year institution to map out coursework well in advance. In York’s experience, one of the main obstacles for a transfer student is planning coursework, especially if a student is unsure of the path he/she wants to take. With the help of his advisors, York planned his Mitchell coursework in full his first year in CCTL. “Paying attention to how your courses transfer will really pay off in the long run and save you a lot of money,” he advised. Easy transitions and transfer experiences are important to York. Recalling the transition from a middle school to an early college student, York noted how Mitchell made it seamless. He hopes to replicate the ease of that transition in his future educational pursuits. York is off to a positive start, having already planned out his entire course schedule for his time at UNC-Chapel Hill. 


York’s impact on the Iredell community extends beyond Mitchell. He currently works at the local escape room, Key to Escape, where he utilizes his computer knowledge to develop software along with programming, coding and electrical engineering. He plans to continue working for Key to Escape remotely while at Chapel Hill. Key to Escape owners Roger and Kim Siegrist say that they have found a true gem in York. “The caliber of Mike and the quality of person he is both from his educational standpoint and work standpoint is so extraordinary that other escape room owners around the country are pretty vocal about saying ‘where did you find him?’” Roger Siegrist noted. “He is just that good. His imagination and talent with coding are spectacular. Literally, if I could clone him and fill the entirety of staff with Mikes, our business success would be guaranteed.”


As York heads to Chapel Hill this fall, he is looking forward to studying abroad, Fall Week and making new friends. He plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a minor in French. Always thinking ahead, York has already decided to earn a master’s degree in computer science by taking advantage of UNC-Chapel Hill’s accelerated bachelor’s to master’s program. He plans to focus his studies in network engineering or general programming. If his time at Mitchell and in Iredell County is any indicator, he is destined for excellence.


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