High school students complete first week of college

By PAMELA GRANT
Cove Leader-Press

Last week, Copperas Cove students finished their first week of the school year. For students enrolled in the district’s new Early College Program, they completed their first week on a college campus as well. 
Copperas Cove has offered its dual credit program for years, but just this year began a program in which students can attend college classes at Central Texas College. 
Russell Porterfield, CCISD’s Director of Career and College Readiness, described how the new program will further benefit future students. Students can now take more vocational classes that the high school is not able to provide. 
CTC already offers these classes, and now high school students will be able to take advantage of them as well. Porterfield said that, as an example, this year they have students participating in welding and culinary arts classes for the first time. This also allows for more flexibility to take classes that will suit each student’s specific needs.
“We’re not channeling all of our students into a specific pathway,” said Porterfield. “They have an opportunity to present to us a degree plan or a certification program that they want to pursue, and we help them take the courses on that plan here at Central Texas College. So, the courses they are taking are directly going to benefit whatever they are doing in the future whether they complete that program as a high school student or not.”
Aryana McConico is one of the Copperas Cove High School students taking advantage of the Early College Program. She is taking a history, government, and psychology class at CTC, and hopes to eventually earn a nursing degree.
“It’s been pretty nice. The transition has been easy for me,” said McConico. “The professors are great, and the students treat you the same as any other adult.”
McConico talked about the differences between high school and college. She said it’s a lot better and more open. She said that she enjoys the freedom of being able to go where you need to go. Previously, McConico took a college algebra class online, and she said she greatly preferred the face to face classes. 
“So far the students are really optimistic. I haven’t had any complaints,” said Simisola Aromolaran, Early College Program Director. “I see them wanting to follow through. They are excited and passionate.”
She said the early college program is a great way to expose the students to real life. She really feels that it’s helping the students to mature. 
Aromolaran said that having the face to face interactions are more engaging for the students and she feels like it’s a better learning environment. She added that it helps cultivate better study habits and time management skills. She said it also helps them improve their organizational skills and become more responsible.
 

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