Four 2009 FHS grads are already off to a brilliant future

Four members of the Frenship High School class of 2009 already have attended their second graduation, this time from South Plains College Reese Center.

The students — Shaun Mantooth, Cassi Wischkaemper, Vanessa Lancaster and Laci Anderson — were part of a new program at Frenship High School to get dual-credit from the licensed vocational nursing program at SPC.

“We set a new model in place for the state,” said Cindy Miller, Frenship career and technical education coordinator. She made a presentation about the students’ work at a state career and technology education conference.

“All four are starting at $32,000 and above,” said Miller of the students’ first post-high school jobs.

“I think it made a huge difference” in their lives, Miller said. “They matured a lot, because they had to, because they were dealing with life-and-death situations.

“To me, I think it made them grow up pretty quick and realize, their career starts now, not later. Now.”

Miller said she is particularly impressed with the four students because they are all going on to further their education in the medical field. While studying at SPC and doing work in area hospitals, she said they saw other medical careers and realized they could have other opportunities.

“They’re all going on and continuing learning,” she said, calling them amazing.

The four students were able to attend the classes with money from a grant Frenship received. They received 39 hours of dual-credits for college. Because of the grant, they did not have to come up with as much money as other students in the same program.

But the bad news is, the money is gone. So four students who hoped to enter the licensed vocational nursing program this year as high school seniors have decided to instead remain at FHS.

Miller said many students at Frenship High are able to take dual-credit courses for a reduced rate at the high school.

“We get a reduced rate of tuition for offering it on our campus,” she said. But the students in the nursing program have to go to the SPC-Reese campus, she said. “It’s double the amount that our (FHS) kids have to pay.”

Miller said she’s hoping in the future Frenship will be able to cover students’ tuition, while the students will have to pick up the tab for books and lab fees.
“It would still be about $1,500,” she said.

Next year, Miller said she expects about 15-20 students to take part in the vocational nursing program. She said the students are in a program called the Frenship Collegiate Prep, which focuses on teaching students who could be the first in their family to graduate college or are otherwise at-risk despite potential to succeed in college.

The FCP students are scheduled in classes together for math, science, social studies and English, but also work on study skills necessary for college, Miller said. In their sophomore year, they can begin taking dual-credit courses, and can take as many as 60 hours while still in high school. Their college courses and books are paid for through a Texas Education Agency grant.

Miller said students not in that program could also consider taking out a loan to participate in the program, although she said traditional student loans are not available to students who have not yet graduated from high school. With salaries starting at more than $32,000 annually, she said students should be able to easily repay those loans upon graduation.

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