Teens begin their post-secondary education early in life

Sarah Unruh, Editor-in-chief

Every year, students at BHS earn a high school diploma at graduation. However, some select students also graduate with higher-level degrees at the same time.

   During their junior and senior years, students with a high enough GPA are eligible to enroll in classes that count as dual-credit for ACC.

   Those who are enrolled in at least 12 credit hours every semester of ACC classes receive a full-tuition scholarship from the college, if they maintain certain GPA. So students who qualify for the scholarship could end up having at least 48 credit hours for Allen by the time they graduate, thus saving their parents a lot of money.

   Since an associates degree from ACC only requires 60-64 credit hours, some students are up for taking on the challenge of earning a college diploma while still in high school.

   Donna Bolen, guidance counselor, believes that this is something that only students who already have a solid plan for their future should pursue.

   “Kids who know that they will have many years of school ahead of them like the idea of getting most of their general education classes out of the way while in high school,” she says. “For example, I’ve seen quite a few Pre-Med students graduate BHS with an Associates.”

   She thinks that those who pursue this degree are often very self-motivated and driven for success. “It’s an impressive thing to accomplish, but it’s definitely not for everyone.”

   Junior Casey Withers is one of the few on track to earn his Associates of Arts by graduation. He plans to major in Marketing and wants to become a marketing manager in California.

   “I just want to be done with college as soon as possible. I hope to be able to move away as soon as I complete my Bachelor’s,” he says.

   Senior Alex Rodriquez agrees with Casey. He plans to double-major in Psychology and Theatre at Kansas University and he wants to have as many classes finished as soon as he can.

   Although it is the only college students can take concurrent classes through, Flint Hills Technical College also offers courses to high school students wishing to get ahead.

   Senior Shelby Murray is enrolled in Power Plant Technologies at FHTC. He mostly completes his coursework online, but he has done some occasional testing on the campus itself.

   “I wanted to further my education within the nuclear field by the time I graduate welding school,” says Shelby.

   He plans to work as an in-house nuclear welder at Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation. He believes that having knowledge of the power plant industry will give him an advantage over others during the hiring process.

   Another path that students can choose to take can also help them with their career choice while still in school.

   Several students have chosen to earn their Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) license through ACC. With this license, they can work in settings and situations very similar to what they will experience in

Sophomore Abby Finlayson visits the guidance office in order to get an new ACC enrollment pamphlet. (PHOTO: Alli Dunlop)

the medical field.

   Junior Grace Kuhlmann earned her CNA because she wanted a job that would prepare her for her future better than lifeguarding would.

   “I want to be a nurse anesthetist, and having my CNA gives me experience in what nursing is like,” she says.

   Some other CNA licensed students include seniors Kerestin Beaty and Ally Ledom, and juniors Alli Blaufuss, Jaleigh Conkle, and Jara Thorp.

   So the question remains: to what degree will students prepare for college while still in high school?