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College Associates Degree Possible; Reestablishing Academic Boosters

The St. Marys Oracle of St Marys, West Virginia

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Upper classmen at St. Marys High School will have an opportunity to graduate with a college degree beginning next year.

St. Marys High School will partner with West Virginia University of Parkersburg to offer 38 college credit hours to students in the junior and senior classes. This will mean next year's junior class could be on track to graduate from high school with a college Associates Degree in Arts.

Beginning this fall, the high school will offer six college courses, which will be 19 credit hours, in the fall and 19 credit hours in the spring.

When students return to school for the 2015-16 school year, college classes for this degree will be in place.

Loura Rinard, guidance counselor at SMHS, stated, "WVUP has been really good to work with us. The students have really responded to this program. We have had a lot of positive reports from the kids who took the college classes this year."

Credit hours will also transfer for students if they do not complete the entire college course load during their junior and senior years.

"A lot of students are getting their prerequisite classes out of the way before they leave high school," Rinard stated.

Two SMHS teachers will be instructing students in some of the college classes, while other classes will be taught by WVUP instructors.

One of the nicest things about this partnership between SMHS and WVUP is students will not have to leave the high school campus in Pleasants County to receive these college credit hours.

All college courses offered through this program will be offered at SMHS.

Linda Mayfield will be teaching the College English 101 and 102 classes. These classes will also count for the high school student's English credit for graduation, as a dual credit.

Mary Amy Kessinger will be teaching the College Chemistry 115 and lab, as well as the College Chemistry 116 and lab. These classes will also be dual credit classes.

Rose Ann Bullman, a Pleasants County resident, may be teaching College Sociology 101 and College Psychology 101 through WVUP.

Other classes to be offered include: College Math 126, Computer Science, College Communication 111, Political Science, College Theatre and College Art 101.

Students planning on entering the college path this fall will have an opportunity to take English 101, Sociology 101, Chemistry 115andlab, Math 126, Communication 111 and Theatre 101.

In the spring, classes to be offered include Psychology 101, English 102, Chemistry 116 and lab, Computer

Science, Political Science and Art 101.

Another positive aspect of high school students taking these college classes during their high school year is the cost.

The high school will be offering the college classes at reduced prices for students. Classes that are three credit hours will be $50, while classes that are four credit hours will be $75.

Rinard stated if students take these classes, plus a summer college class, they will be able to graduate from high school with their college Associates Degree in Arts.

If students chose not to take the summer class, they will be about two hours short of the required hours for the associate's degree.

The high school staff has offered college courses to students over the past years, but this is the first time students will be working toward an actual degree with the coursework while still in high school.

These classes will be offered to all juniors and seniors this fall.

Students must have a 2.5 grade point average and have room in their schedule to be eligible to sign up for these classes.

"A lot of students have the four core high school classes and have room in their schedules for four elective classes," Rinard stated.

Rinard has made a presentation to the Pleasants Area Lions Club about the new program to be offered at the high school.

The Lions Club is interested in helping defray costs for students and is planning on making a donation to the school for the program.

Rinard stated in another effort to help students with the cost of these college courses, they are planning to reinstate the Academic Boosters program at the high school.

The first meeting for the Academic Boosters will be Thursday, April 30, at 6 p.m. at St. Marys High School in the commons area.

The hope is to renew the Academic Boosters program to help the students who might want to take these college classes, but may be restricted because of the financial costs.

Rinard is hoping former alumni of SMHS and county residents will get behind the Academic Boosters program once again and raise funds to help students achieve their goals of taking these classes.

Refreshments will be available during the meeting and Rinard is inviting all county residents and alumni to attend the meeting.

Questions concerning the college courses to be offered to the students or questions concerning the Academic Boosters meeting should be directed to Rinard or Susan Travers, SMHS guidance counselors at the high school, by calling 304.684.2421.

Copyright 2015 The St. Marys Oracle, St Marys, West Virginia. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: April 22, 2015

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