Trinidad State and local high schools build upon partnership

Trinidad State Recruiter Mark VanDreason discusses scholarship opportunities available to prospective students at a luncheon for high school representatives on Friday.

Trinidad State Recruiter Mark VanDreason discusses scholarship opportunities available to prospective students at a luncheon for high school representatives on Friday.

Trinidad State hosted a luncheon on Friday for local high school counselors, administrators and teachers to discuss opportunities for local students. Representatives from Aguilar High School, Hoehne High School, Holy Trinity Academy, Huerfano School District, John Mall High School and Trinidad High School attended. The luncheon included briefings on various topics, specifically concurrent enrollment, and a question-and-answer session.
Through concurrent enrollment agreements between local schools and Trinidad State, high school students can take college-credit courses either at their school or on Trinidad State’s campus, depending on the agreement.

Hoehne High School Counselor Shelly Jones estimated that 20 out of 50 juniors and seniors at Hoehne take concurrent enrollment classes at Trinidad State. Hoehne students come to the Trinidad State campus to take courses in subjects like diesel mechanics, cosmetology, English and auto mechanics, according to Jones.

“They get to see the college life before they actually go,” Jones said of the benefit of the concurrent enrollment program.

In addition to concurrent enrollment, the high school representatives in attendance learned about Accuplacer testing—a testing system designed to assess college readiness—, scholarships, and how to offer college-level classes at their high schools.

Mark VanDreason, recruiter for Trinidad State, discussed scholarship opportunities available for prospective students. “We want to offer an affordable option,” VanDreason said. He then asked the participants to help spread the word about the available scholarships. “You may know somebody who may qualify for many of these scholarships that could help them come to TSJC and get a really good education.”

Trinidad State offers seven institutional scholarships, as part of the First Choice package, for incoming students. Vice President of Student Services and Sponsored Programs Kerry Gabrielson reported that the college awarded 131 scholarships from the First Choice scholarships last year. With the Automatic Merit Scholarship—one of the First Choice scholarships—an A-average high school student may qualify for a $600 tuition credit, plus a $500 residence hall credit per semester.

During the question-and-answer session, many of the attendees were interested to learn about some of the offerings available for prospective students at the Valley Campus of Trinidad State, located in Alamosa, Colo.

“You get an example like this where a kid doesn’t want to stick around because it just doesn’t seem like it’s cool,” said Dawn Olson, superintendent at Huerfano School District. “I’m really impressed that you have those other opportunities [Valley Campus] that I didn’t know before I came because I’m still kind of new to the area.

“A smaller campus with what I perceive to be a stronger sense of community is pretty important for kids, especially some of our at-risk kids,” Olson added.

To conclude the program, Gabrielson said, “We really value the relationships we have with each of the students that you bring to us and with you all as important decision makers and those that help prospective students make decisions.”

The luncheon for representatives from local schools is held once a year on both the Trinidad and Valley campuses.

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