Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Vol State Welcomes Back Middle College Students

Lucas Hissam, left, and Brandon Street, right.
Lucas Hissam and Brandon Street were not fans of high school. They were essentially bored with their studies, and they wanted something a bit more challenging. 
"We just didn't fit in in that kind of atmosphere," Hissam said.
That's where the Sumner County Middle College High School at Vol State came in. Sumner County Middle College is a collaboration between Sumner County Schools and Volunteer State Community College that offers high school juniors and seniors the chance to take dual-enrollment courses that culminate in a degree. This semester marks the beginning of the second year of the program.
Middle College students are in the middle of their Supplemental Instruction Boot Camp, which is led by Vol State's SI instructors. It gives students a chance to transition from high school or the break in between classes back into the daily grind of classes before they begin their new semester. 
Both Hissam and Street are returning students entering their senior year as Middle College students. After graduation, Hissam plans on furthering his education in mechanical engineering, while Street plans on going into neuroscience. Since both of those fields require an ample amount of schooling, they both figured it was worth getting a head start on college by becoming Middle College students.
"I thought it would be stupid to not take advantage of essentially two free years of college and get our associate's degree," Street said.
That's the goal of the whole program, according to principals Brad Schreiner and Betsy Hunter. 
"It's an exciting program for students. They come to us for a lot of reasons. A lot of times they're just tired of high school. They want more challenge. Some of them want to be doctors and they want to get a jump on that type of program, because it takes a long time to be a doctor. They're able to get a two-year jump on that," Hunter said.

This year's program features 50 students, 32 of which are returning seniors. There were 19 graduates of Sumner County Middle College last year, and 14 are returning to Vol State to finish out their associate's degree as part of the Tennessee Promise program.
"I think that shows they liked Vol State well-enough that they decided to stay here and finish their degree," Schreiner said.
Click the link for more information on Sumner County Middle College.

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