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Middle School Students Go To College

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Middle school students from across the county recently received an inspiring glimpse into life as a student at Pasco Hernando State College (PHSC). This initiative, a partnership between the Hernando County School District and PHSC, aims to introduce young students to the collegiate environment, broadening their horizons and sparking their ambitions.

During their visit to PHSC, students had the chance to explore a variety of academic settings, from EMT and nursing classrooms to the vast resources of the college library and the student lounge. Yet, the most memorable part for many was the opportunity to connect with student ambassadors, who shared their personal stories and insights into college life and the wide range of majors available at PHSC.

This program goes beyond academic exploration; it’s about instilling curiosity and ambition in young minds. Witnessing students envision their futures and immerse themselves in the college atmosphere was significant for all involved. On March 20, it was Fox Chapel Middle School’s turn to experience college life, an opportunity that left many eager for where their futures would take them.

PHSC’s provost, Reggie Wilson, highlighted the exceptional collaboration and support between the college and the school district. The district’s commitment to opening students’ eyes to the vast opportunities ahead is evident in its encouragement to pursue dual enrollment courses. These courses, free for middle and high school students, offer a significant head start in their college careers and a considerable financial advantage.

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By reaching out to students early, the initiative aims to inform and inspire their educational paths before they reach high school. The provost emphasized PHSC’s role as a community-focused institution dedicated to education and fostering a supportive academic community.

Now in its second year, the program has seen significant growth and is already planning for the future. The success of this partnership between the college and the school district promises to expand further, bringing more opportunities to the community.

Superintendent Stratton, one of the visionaries behind this initiative, has leveraged the relationship between the district and PHSC to enhance college and career planning information for the greater community. The initiative also extends support to parents, offering resources on navigating dual enrollment, financial aid, scholarships and fostering academic skills at home.
Provost Wilson explained that while college might not be the right path for everyone, the aim is to provide all necessary information for making informed decisions about the future.

The success of this program is attributed to the dedicated collaboration between Pasco Hernando State College and the Hernando County School District, with special recognition to key individuals like PHSC Provost Reggie Wilson, Michelle Barnes, Dell O. Barnes, Sr., Superintendent Stratton, Sonsee Sanders, and Shauna Kincade.

Fox Chapel students putting together a replica of a human skeleton. [Photo by Summer Hampton]
Fox Chapel students putting together a replica of a human skeleton. [Photo by Summer Hampton]
Fox Chapel students learning about 3-D printing. [Photo by Summer Hampton]
Fox Chapel students learning about 3-D printing. [Photo by Summer Hampton]
PHSC EMT students demonstrating what they're learning. [Photo by Summer Hampton]
PHSC EMT students demonstrating what they’re learning. [Photo by Summer Hampton]
PHSC in-class ambulance used for learning. [Photo by Summer Hampton]
PHSC in-class ambulance used for learning. [Photo by Summer Hampton]
PHSC Provost Reggie Wilson speaking with Fox Chapel Middle School students. [Photo by Summer Hampton]
PHSC Provost Reggie Wilson speaking with Fox Chapel Middle School students. [Photo by Summer Hampton]
(L-R) PHSC Provost Reggie Wilson, Michelle Barnes, Superintendent Stratton, Sonsee Sanders, and Shauna Kincade [Photo by Summer Hampton]
(L-R) PHSC Provost Reggie Wilson, Michelle Barnes, Superintendent Stratton, Sonsee Sanders, and Shauna Kincade [Photo by Summer Hampton]

Summer Hampton
Summer Hampton
Summer Hampton is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a bachelor's degree in communication focused in culture and media. She is Poynter ACES certified in editing through the Poynter Institute, with a certificate of book publishing obtained through the University of Denver.
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