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College students back in class

Teri Vance

One day, Lotti Hermansson wants to design buildings. Monday, she laid the foundation for that dream.

“I’ve always wanted to be an architect, so this is the beginning,” she said. “You’ve got to start somewhere.”

Hermansson, 30, emigrated from Sweden nine years ago and has lived for the past six years in Carson City.

She joined about 4,500 students who started school Monday at Western Nevada Community College.

“I’m starting all over in the American system,” she said.

Anne Hansen, director of marketing and information, said she expects more students to enroll throughout this week during late registration and for the short-term classes later in the semester.

Last year, about 5,600 students attended the college and officials are expecting an increase this year by the official count date on Oct. 15.

“Overall, we’re expecting a gain,” Hansen said. “It looks like a real strong enrollment.”

Millennium Scholars attending the college are up to 209 this year from last year’s 144.

“The news is good,” she said. “The news is it is attracting students to college and that was the goal.”

Hansen also expect the number of Millennium Scholars – Nevada students who received up to $10,000 for graduating with at least a “B” average – to increase as late enrollment progresses.

Heather Groettum, 21, began her third year of working toward her associate’s degree in special education.

“Today’s gone great,” she said. “I like how the classes aren’t so big and I can get to know the teachers and I trust that I can get the help I need.”

For Jeremy Fitzgerald, 19, the community college is a transition from Santa Clara University, where he attended last year, and the University of Nevada, Reno, where he plans to attend next semester.

A mechanical engineering major, he plans to work and go to school to raise money to further his studies.

“I’m excited to get back in a sense,” he said. “It’s been a good summer. I think it’ll be a good year.”

Pam Toohey, 18, graduated from Carson High School last year and said college has a different feel than high school.

“I don’t have that same feeling of being back in school,” she said. “I feel more like I’m not in school but I have classes.”

Carson City’s secondary schools begin today and elementary schools begin Wednesday