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College Connections

College Connections

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WRITTEN BY MADDIE COOK

You see them, they look just like you, but there’s something a little off. Maybe they’re a little too young or a little too studious. Or, maybe, they’re just College Connection students. For years, juniors from a multitude of local high schools have applied to College Connection in the hopes of spending their senior year of high school as a college student here at Shasta. 21 years ago when this program originally started it exclusively served Red Bluff students, however over the years it has become open to many schools such as Trinity, Central Valley, Anderson, Foothill— to list a few. At the beginning of our senior year – two weeks before college begins – we are all strangers from a myriad of varying backgrounds, all here for different reasons. Then throughout the progress of the year, we slowly get to know each other and become one unified class. And when the year finally draws to a close and we all become College Connection Alumni, we will stand together as a class and have a graduation of all our own – in addition to our traditional high school graduations.

In an interview Alan Spivey, one of the four college connection teachers, described the program as, “a great way for students to succeed.” Over fall and spring semesters the students will take Senior English, Econ, Government, and – arguably our secret weapon for success – a study lab in the library 5 days a week.  Besides all the senior classes that are required to graduate, we all take an array of varying college courses. There are College Connection students in a wide range of classes, what we take really is up to us. By the end of the year students can have earned up to 22 college credits; and that is a great platform to continue on our higher education lives.

One reason another College Connection teacher, Mr. Zimmerman, sees such a benefit from this program is that students “get to experience college while still having the support of high school” which I’ve seen to be very true. If a student finds they are struggling with a class the College Connection teachers are always eager to help; it’s really true when they say they want us to succeed. Also if their office hours are inconvenient, there are always two teachers in our study lab to help us. Over the years –because we are continually dedicated students –professors have gone from wondering if seniors were even ready to take college courses to requesting to have college connection students in their classes simply because they know we will succeed.

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Another, more obvious aspect of this program is getting to know great classmates. Emily, a College Connection student, commented that this program is really “a great way to meet new people”. In high school, few of our peers actually wanted to be there taking their education seriously; but in this program our peers “are a lot more mature and mellow”  adds Josh, another College Connection student “we act more like adults”. Many other students agree that they joined because they felt they were more mature and ready to get out of the high school environment. Here we are academically challenged and excellence is encouraged.

Overall, College Connection is a really good program offering a whole new atmosphere to grow in and a very real advantage as opposed to a traditional high school senior year. The teachers and students are all very exciting to be around and it is quite easy to assimilate with your fellow college peers. Although on paper we are still students at our various high schools, we are at Shasta College every day enjoying the freedom and opportunities that are affiliated with such an experience.

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