Pioneer High School students excel in college courses | NevadaAppeal.com

Pioneer High School students excel in college courses

Cary Jordan

The Jump Start partnership between Western Nevada College and the Carson City School District offers high achieving Pioneer High School students — like Nathan Hammock, Kaylee Kelley and Tiffany Spraycar — more than an opportunity to begin pursuing their dreams of higher education while still in high school. It also cultivates their personal strength, confidence and trust in themselves, which can lead to success not only in college, but also in career and life.

"It's a wonderful opportunity, one of best opportunities I've ever received," said Pioneer senior Nathan Hammock.

Hammock is in his second year in the program, and is the current WNC Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society president.

"I came here and I no longer felt like a high school student. The instructors and the staff treat me like an adult, and that has helped me fit in and feel like any other college student. I knew college classes would be a challenge, that's what I was looking for. The classes are little more difficult, but they are better. They push me to be a better student. Deciding to join Jump Start is something I'll never regret for my entire college career. If students want to do it, they should do everything they can to get in."

Hammock will earn an Associate of Arts this May, one week later he will earn his high school diploma. This was made possible at Pioneer High with the collaboration of WNC and Jump Start.

This underscores one of the great benefits of participating in the Jump Start program — the ability to earn college credits at a reduced cost while simultaneously satisfying high school graduation requirements.

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WNC Dean of Students John Kinkella, who led the creation of the Jump Start program, said the results have been extremely positive, thanks to the efforts of the principals and school boards of the five participating counties, Carson, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon and Storey.

First semester data from this 2015-16 school year shows Jump Start students completed college math courses at a 96.4 percent rate, and college English courses at a 98.5 percent rate. At the same time, families are saving money and students are being inspired to excel.

Pioneer senior Tiffany Spraycar is new to the program this semester.

"I love to learn and I am looking forward to the opportunity to expand my knowledge," she explained. "I am hoping that the classes I take will help me decide the direction of my career. I want to test the waters to help reinforce my idea to pursue a four-year degree, and I like the idea that I will have assistance with the costs. I see this as an easier transition from high school to college and I am hoping for a good head start into college."

When asked what traits a student needs to succeed senior Kaylee Kelley said, "You need to be dedicated and know what direction you want to go. You should enjoy learning and want to expand your knowledge."

After taking classes for the first semester, Kelley isn't sure she wants to continue college right away after high school graduation, but the experience has taught her she can go after whatever career she wants.

"I was leery of just jumping in and I knew it was going to be a lot of work and commitment. What surprised me was the amount of studying it takes to do well. I really like getting in the college life and being treated like an adult, it makes me feel like I can do almost anything I want to do. I enjoyed my English class (Eng 101) and how they went further in depth in how to write and how it can apply to the world. The Jump Start program gives students an advantage over other student by earning college credit while still in high school. If I decide to go to college fulltime, I already know what to expect."

Pioneer students who have passed Algebra II with a B grade or better could meet the requirements for the Jump Start program. Any person interested should contact me to complete the WNC Accuplacer essay test. Those who test into English 101 will be eligible to apply for the Jump Start College program. Classes previous Pioneer students have taken in the program for college credit include English 101 and 102, Math 096, 126, 127, 283, History 101, 102, 105, 106, Communications 101 and 102, EPY 150, Psychology 101, Art 101, and Phys 180, 181.

Cary Jordan is a counselor at Pioneer High School.