January 29, 2017
When Michigan City High School student Rykiah Rogers crosses the stage to graduate in 2018, she’ll earn more than an Academic Honors diploma. She’ll have 30 college credits to give her a head start on a career in the medical field.
Rogers was the kind of student who could have fallen through the cracks. In elementary school, she was a bright and well-behaved student, but never at the top of her class. At home, she had a supportive single mom who worked hard to make ends meet. By middle school, Rogers felt lost, she describes herself as unfocused, someone who didn’t like school much, and didn’t take it seriously.
Then, in eighth grade, her middle school counselor convinced her to apply for Early College.
The Michigan City High School (MCHS) Early College program was established three years ago, and functions as a school within a school that challenges students from the academic middle. Many of these students are low-income and will be the first in their families to attend college. They receive extra counseling, academic support, and are taught by highly qualified MCHS teachers who have developed coursework in conjunction with Purdue Northwest and Ivy Tech.
There are 300 students that are a part of the program right now.
Life has changed dramatically for Rogers. Now in her junior year in our Early College high school program, she is earning dual credits from Purdue Northwest and Ivy Tech. She has been challenged with honors courses, and then supported with an extra class period of supervised study. She is also part of a 1:1 Chromebook pilot program, where she uses Google Classroom to complete assignments.
This year, Rogers attends the A. K. Smith Career Center to take her electives through the Health Careers Academy. “My goal is to start college as a sophomore or junior at Indiana University, majoring in nursing,” she says. “I want to work in a hospital as either a nurse practitioner or a pediatrician.”
Rogers takes pride in being a member of the Early College’s inaugural class, and takes the time to help recruit and mentor incoming freshmen. “I love the Early College program!” she says. “If you need help, the teachers are all-hands-on-deck. I’m saving so much money on courses, and when I go to college, I’ll be ahead of the curve.”
She now describes herself as intelligent, hard-working, determined, focused, and outgoing. “I think about my future all the time,” she says. “If there’s a big assignment due, I focus everything I have on it. All of this is going to pay off in the future.”
For more on Michigan City High School’s Early College program, visit www.EducateMC.net/earlycollege.
This story has been corrected from an earlier version.
Wendel McCollum is associate superintendent for administration at Michigan City Area Schools. Michigan City High is a READY NWI school. The opinions are the writer's.
The READY NWI partnership supports the unique aspects of community, school, and student, and embraces a commitment to regional thinking and acting in order to ensure prosperity by meeting the skill and education needs of employers throughout Northwest Indiana.