Seniors Graduate with Advanced Degrees

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Five OHS seniors will be walking across the stage on Sunday having earned their high school diploma and a degree from Indian Hills Community College.

These ambitious grads participated in the district's Senior Year Plus program, which serves as an umbrella for a variety of programs designed to provide high school students access to courses that have the potential to generate college credit. Two options include Concurrent Enrollment courses, taught at OHS by OHS teachers for both high school and college credit and/or Post Secondary Enrollment Option, where students can enroll in college courses at no cost to the student. The result is the ability for students to earn both high school and college credit simultaneously. 

Zane Batterson starting taking dual credit courses as a freshman with Project Lead the Way. Good in math, he didn't enjoy the engineering aspect of the course. As a sophomore, he took a general accounting class since he enjoys math. "I enjoyed it and started taking college classes about it," he said. While not initially planning to complete his AA, "once I got half way I figured I might as well finish it up," he said. He plans to attend William Penn University in the fall to complete his public accounting degree with the goal of earning his CPA. An advantage to completing his AA is that he can transfer the entire degree instead of individual courses for credit. He encourages other students to take classes to find something they are interested in. "Dual credit courses are free, which is always a plus," he said.

Alexis Cook dreams of a career in the music industry. Taking advanced classes provided her with the opportunity to earn college credits while taking advantage of the cost savings. She took classes during the summer as well to complete her credit requirement. Cook also had a busy extracurricular schedule, including theater, show choir, Meistersingers, fall cheerleading, and speech. "I would definitely recommend taking college credits to get an AA," she said. "It is a lot of work but a really big accomplishment." She plans to attend Middle Tennessee University this fall.

Melanie Fischer took her first dual credit course as a freshman. To meet her goal, she took courses the summer after her sophomore year, then throughout her junior and senior years. She plans to major in business administration at the University of Northern Iowa this fall. Along with the obvious cost savings, she likes taking advanced courses. "I like to be pushed and challenged," she said. She earned 64 credits at Indian Hills while being involved in several activities, including marching band, concert band, Preludes, bowling, archery, and Torch Club.

Shai Guido completed a Welding Technology Diploma through Indian Hills Community College. Over the past two years, he spent his afternoons on the IHCC campus learning a variety of welding techniques. Since the program is an American Welding Society (AWS) Accredited Test Facility, Guido earned AWS certifications in GMAW, SMAW, GTAW and FCAW. He will begin working for Vermeer in Pella as a welder later this month and plans to continue his education to earn his AAS. "Having this opportunity was a huge step forward," said Guido. His advice to OHS students is to look for opportunities. "There are new opportunities at OHS every year," he said. 

Jordyn Salter knew she wanted to take college courses. "I realized I had time and could get them all done," she said. She plans to attend the University of Northern Iowa in the fall and major in elementary education with the hope of being a kindergarten teacher. Other than the obvious financial advantages, she will immediately start her education course work when she starts college in the fall. "For me, I want to pursue more than four years so not that big of a deal to me," she said of the extra work. She was involved in sorority and worked at Prime Time Youth Care and Good Samaritan Center. While it might seem like a lot of work, "once you start, it's really not." She hopes to encourage her freshman brother to follow in her footsteps.