Sophomores take on college

Three sophomores will bypass South High next year, enrolling full-time in community college


Lindsey Unnerstall

Sophomore Ella Tebbe works in Mr. Howren’s class. Next year Tebbe will be a college student.

Wouldn’t it be cool to have your Associate’s Degree when you graduate from high school? For these three sophomores that dream may just come true. 

Sophomores Mia Jakovljevic, Ella Tebbe, and Heather Kenyon will be participating in the Early College Program next school year at a nearby St. Louis Community College.

College and career counselor Mrs. Robin Seuc said both the Parkway and Rockwood school districts work with St. Louis Community College to create this program where students can do their junior and senior years of high school at a nearby community college and by the time they graduate they will have both their high school diploma and their Associate’s Degree.

“All sophomores are sent an email from the district. Dr. Jennifer Stanfill, who works with choice programs like Spark and the Early College Program, sends an email inviting every sophomore to the program if they’re interested,” Seuc said.

Students are then able to apply if they want by the deadline around December. There are a few basic grade requirements to be in the program and they look at things like GPA and attendance. The program is free unless you get C or below in a class and then you have to start paying for yourself. 

Jakovljevic said she found out about the program through a friend.

“I didn’t know about it until another student that’s doing it, Heather Kenyon, she told me about it,” Jakovljevic said.

Jakovljevic plans on taking a gap year after high school and earning her Associates Degree to travel and then wants to transfer to a 4-year university to eventually earn a Master’s Degree.

Ella Tebbe, another student participating in the program, said she has always tried to challenge herself.

“This [is] a good opportunity. It’s slightly more challenging because it’s a different environment,” Tebbe said.

All of the students plan to further their education after the program. 

“It’s a great [option] and I can have more freedom with my learning,” Tebbe said.

Most of the students signed up for the program early first semester. They will graduate from high school at the same time as the rest of their class, 2024, but will have their Associate’s Degree as well. 

Kenyon thinks it’s a cool opportunity to get ahead in school and likes the idea of having less years of school to do. 

“That’s what scares me a little if I’ll actually have the motivation to keep up with the workload,” Kenyon says about the extra school work.

Students are still able to participate in high school activities while attending their classes on campus. They can be involved in clubs, sports, dances, etc. Their classes are done by the afternoon so they will still have time to spend with friends and get homework done. 

“It has to be the right fit [for them],” Seuc said. “For some students [the program] is a great thing and it fits them well and for others it doesn’t.”

Seuc said Tebbe, Kenyon and Jakovljevic will still be South students, even though they won’t physically be on campus.

“They are still very much a South High student; they’re just not having South High teachers and not having that same high school experience,” Seuc said. 

Although they might miss out on the South High experience with their friends, all of the students think it will be worth it for their education and future goals.

Jakovljevic recommends the program to any incoming sophomores that might be interested in taking this big step for their junior and senior years.

“I think the program offers a lot of benefits for furthering my education and I feel like it’s a really great fit for what I’m looking for in schooling,” Jakovljevic said.