High schoolers get Jump Start


Jacob Baumgart, Ad Manager

AACC elementary education student Molly Fitzpatrick says she loves her Broad¬neck third-graders.

Although she claims her course’s requirement to teach an elementary math class is rewarding, she had to sacrifice her job.

I had to give up a nannying job,” Fitzpatrick says.

The teacher had to give up more than professional opportunities to earn her chance at the elementary school; she also had to give up high school classes.

While Fitzpatrick takes a math education class at AACC, she is also a senior at Broadneck High School.

“I skipped my col¬lege class, [and] … my high school class to be with [my students] at their Halloween party,” Fitzpatrick says.

Fitzpatrick earned her chance to take the teach¬ing class through the Ear¬ly College Access Program. The partnership between Anne Arundel County Pub¬lic Schools and AACC allows high schoolers to take classes at the community college for a reduced price.

As the ECAP students attempt to earn college cred¬its, many say they have little trouble balancing high school, college and social lives.

Anne Arundel County Board of Education Presi¬dent Stacy Korbelak encour¬ages high school students to take advantage of this oppor¬tunity if they can.

“It teaches you to learn independence and [experi¬ence] that college world,” Korbelak says.

While the opportuni¬ty is available to all county public school students 16 or older, Korbelak suspects some high school counselors discourage their teens from taking AACC classes.

“You’ve got this outside party who’s ranking high schools. … If any of our high schools are in the top [of the rankings] does that high school want to encourage students to leave and go to college?” Korbelak asks.

Korbelak says U.S. News & World Report determines these rankings by the pro¬portion of Advanced Place¬ment students a school has. She says she believes schools ranked highly will push students to take more AP classes instead of college courses.

However, 20 percent of ECAP students come from the county’s top-ranked in-stitution in the report, Sever¬na Park High School.

Though Korbelak sus¬pects counselors encourage students to take AP classes instead of AACC courses, many learners say they have no trouble doing both.

Arundel High School se¬nior Keegan O’Donnell claims he manages to balance his three AP classes and his ac¬counting course at AACC.

The challenge is I have to deal with stupid people,” O’Donnell, the only high school student in his class, says of his AACC experience.

Arundel High School classmate Ana Mellos agrees her psychology class at AACC is easy.

Mellos says one of her biggest challenges is waiting for the elevator at the Arundel Mills campus.

“The elevator takes five years,” Mellos says.

However, not all ECAP students have as few strug¬gles as O’Donnell and Mellos.

For Meade High School senior Casey Thomas, her adjustming to college life has been more difficult. She takes four classes at AACC on top of two at her high school.

“At the beginning [of the school year] it was very over¬whelming and I didn’t know if I could make it all of the se¬mester,” Thomas explains.

Thomas added that the biggest casualty from her studies is her social life.

“I spend most of my time running back and forth between high school and college,” Thomas says. “My friends are [having fun] and I’m here studying.”

Thomas’ juggling act is a rarity in the ECAP.

Fitzpatrick says she would tell future ECAP stu¬dents not to be stressed.

“People say [AP class¬es] are so much harder than college classes and that’s so true,” Fitzpatrick says.