CollegeQuest: Springboard to college
By Josh O’Gorman
STAFF WRITER | July 18,2013
Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo
Jane Nesbitt, right, goes through the afternoon agenda for the 25 students attending College-Quest To Health Careers at the College of St. Joseph in Rutland. The six-week program focuses and directs students into health care fields. The program is sponsored by Northeastern Vermont Area Health Education Center and the Vermont AHEC Network.
High school students pursuing careers in health care are getting a jump start on their education at the College of St. Joseph.
For the second year in a row, the school is hosting CollegeQuest, a program offered by the Northeastern Vermont Area Health Education Center.
The program targets high school students entering their senior year who come from low-income households or homes where they will be the first family member to attend college.
“Students who fit this profile are statistically less likely to complete college, but we need those students to succeed,” said Nicole LaPointe, executive director of the Northeastern Vermont Area Health Education Center.
According to a 2009 report from the Vermont Community Foundation, 45 percent of the state’s high school graduates attend college immediately, compared to 57 percent nationally.
It’s also part of a plan to seed the rural parts of the state with more doctors and nurses.
“Health care professionals who come from small towns are more likely to return to their home towns to practice medicine,” LaPointe said. “This is a long-term investment in our state.”
CollegeQuest is a six-week program that began in late June and concludes in early August, drawing 24 high school students from around the state. They live in CSJ’s dormitory, eat their meals in the cafeteria and take classes offered by college-level professors.
In doing so, they get a real taste of what college will be like and what will be expected of them as students, said Tegan White, 17, of West Rutland.
“You have to be self-motivated,” said White, who is entering her senior year at West Rutland High School. “You have to have the drive to learn. You have to be responsible for yourself.”
While at CSJ, the students take a human biology class taught by Dr. Steve Edelman, who really makes his subject come alive, said Marissa Lamoureux, 17, of Rutland.
“The teacher is very intense but really good and we’re connecting everything I’ve learned before,” said Lamoureux, who is entering her second year in the health careers program at the Stafford Technical Center.
In addition to the biology class, students take a course offered by the Community College of Vermont to prepare them to get into college. The students sharpen their reading and writing skills and complete essays for their college applications.
Students also meet with representatives from the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation to discuss how they will pay for college.
“That’s something that’s been really valuable because that’s a worry we have in my family; how to pay for it,” White said.
The program is free to the students and those who complete it will receive a $1,485 stipend to use toward college.
For more information about CollegeQuest, visit www.nevahec.org.