By Jean A. Flanagan
Students in the East Hardy High School Machine Tool Technology Program will have the opportunity to get college credits towards an associates degree at Potomac State College of West Virginia University while still in high school, thanks to an agreement signed on Monday, Nov. 17 at the Hardy County Board of Education meeting.
“We have been working on this over the last year,” Hardy County School Superintendent Barbara Whitecotton said.
“You’re the first school to do this,” Leonard Colelli, Ph.D said.
Colelli, campus president and Edem Tetteh, Ph.D., dean of academic affairs, were on hand to sign the agreement and explain the program.
[private] “They can earn 30 credits towards a 60-credit associates degree,” Colelli said. “They can do this while still in high school.”
Colelli said the cost of the credits is “extremely inexpensive” at $10 per credit.
“That’s just to put them on a transcript,” he said.
In-state students pay $111 per credit hour at the school.
“They will still need an additional 30 credits of general studies (for an associates degree),” Colelli said.
“But we have an agreement with Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College so they can take 15 of those general education credits there at $25 per credit.”
Whitecotton said the partnership with Potomac State will likely be incorporated into other fields of study. “We’re looking at the Entrepreneurial/Ag program and possibly Pro-Start,” she said.
“The reason we’re doing this is to level the playing field. We want
to keep our kids here. We want to show them they don’t have to leave Hardy County or West Virginia to find a good paying job.”
“When you can offer high school students a chance to get part of an associates degree, it’s a win-win for everybody,” said Brad Simmons, principal of East Hardy High School.
Simmons was instrumental in starting the Machine Tool Technology Program when several machine shops reached out to him.
“They couldn’t find qualified people to work for them,” he said.
Simmons said he wants to expand the program to other fields of study, but also to students at Moorefield High School. “I asked Mr. Anderson last year to keep his eye out for students who are good in math and like to work with their hands,” he said. [/private]