CSNHS Students go to College While Finishing High School

Braydon 1By Braydon Heier

College of Southern Nevada has challenged high-school students to work on their associate degrees while finishing high school at the same time. These CSNHS students are getting a head start by attending college sooner rather than later.

“College of Southern Nevada was a high-school experience unlike any other,” said Dennis Basilio, former CSNHS student. “I was able to graduate with my associate degree prior to graduating high school; I am now able to complete my bachelor’s degree before I turn 20.”

As of fall 2014 there are 418 students in the program consisting of high-school juniors and seniors, according to Debbie Olivas, registrar of CSNHS.

In 2013, there were 208 seniors who graduated from the program. Twelve of them earned their associate degrees from CSN prior to high-school graduation. Of that group, 95 percent went on to higher education, according to statistics from CSNHS.

“The students are highly motivated and the teachers are outstanding, every single one of them,” said Patricia deClercq, in-term principal of CSNHS. “They are very polite. I think they are excited in their classes. They really want to do well and outside of class they are very creative.” She pointed out that the students are eager to transition into college and make the best of their opportunities.

“They give up sports but they do have National Honor Society and student council,” deClercq said. “There are dances and mixers but they do give up that social life and that contact because they are so busy going to both high school and college that they just don’t have time to play like other students do.”

“You have to be someone who consistently wants to be successful,” said Lisa Bruce, counselor at the Cheyenne CSNHS campus. “This program isn’t for everybody and I am constantly amazed and wowed that there are teenagers out there who are considering their future and sacrificing being a teenager and becoming adults.”

High-school students interested in participating in the program must apply first. The application process consists of filling out forms and writing two essays. The counselors look for good grades and only accept those with no discipline issues.

If accepted they can enroll in CSN and receive a voucher to take up to four classes per term at no costs, except fees, Olivas said.

Once in the program, CSNHS students finish high school while working on their associate degrees. Some accomplish both diplomas at the same time. Bruce mentioned that this is a major feat as many students need another year or so to finish their degrees.

The teachers at CSNHS includes the following: Adam Poole, math teacher and student-council advisor; Gary Havener, English teacher and publications advisor; and Patricia Hastings, U.S. history and government teacher.

Clark County School District teamed up with CSN and has successfully run the CSN high-school program at Cheyenne, Charleston and Henderson campuses since 1996.

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