Sheri Samson
Students at Mineral County High School began the JumpStart program last week.

The newly acquired program called “JumpStart” was rolled out Aug. 7, for 14 high school junior and senior teens anxious to receive dual-college credits in classes that could potentially create a early AA degree at high school level.

Instructor Jessica Rowe and GearUp coordinator, Meshanna Huntley, serve as the programs “CoHort” with coaching and mentoring available, as well as instruction, which serve these students ready to step into a college-created endeavor. These pre-interviewed and approved students are undertaking their first, three-credit, fast-track course made available through a district grant. A two-year, accomplished degree format is available for viewing on the Western Nevada College JumpStart website.

“This program allows rural students to gain a head start on their college dreams, as we work in relationship to the general entry courses which can transfer into Nevada colleges, or in most cases meet the criteria of outside college courses also,” Rowe explained.

The JumpStart Program Director, John Kinkella and Dean of Student Services for Western Nevada College, presented this student opportunity to the Mineral County School Board at the beginning of 2017, during an open board meeting. In further discussion of eligibility, with Superintendent Walt Hackford and High School Principal Jeff Wales, the Mineral County Grant Manager Shelly Lovitt assisted in securing the proper funding to begin this new student venture. Mineral County is one of 20 Nevada rural districts using this format to gain college footing for our high school students.

With “all nerves on deck” these pioneering students were unraveling the beginning of Communications 101 with impromptu speeches. The students were given a topic to gather information and create a progression of thoughts or opinions. Publicly presenting their outlined information proved to be thought-provoking, as the audience was encouraged to ask questions of the presenter following the two minute, non-interrupted verbal overview. Topics such as jobs, relationships, family, cultural I.D., education, mentors and stress were only a few of the 14 subjects presented.

Participating students admitted that the exercise felt scary, as speaking before groups of your peers was a stretch that felt uncomfortable. However, they also admitted that openly sharing thoughts felt good, once it was over. Each student agreed it was a good exercise to “express your own opinions and logic in a safe place with other students” with a helpful instructor present to assist them.

Future courses will include English 101; Math 1276 Pre-Calculus; History 101 and more. Interested students were interviewed and appropriately tested for this program, with parental involvement and agreements followed to create a successful strategy within the opportunity given by the grant funding.