Moffat County grads get early taste of college achievements

From left, Reagan Hafey, Grace Baker, Marlee Fedinec, and Diana Arellano hold up their associate’s degrees following Colorado Northwestern Community College’s graduation ceremony May 6 in Rangely. Many Moffat County High School students have received their two-year degree prior to finishing high school thanks to being able to complete CNCC courses.
Courtesy Photo

As Moffat County High School’s latest class of graduates slip on their caps and gowns for the commencement ceremony this weekend, numerous Bulldogs will be experiencing a sense of déja vu.

Many of the Class of 2023 have racked up plentiful college credits through the dual enrollment program between MCHS and Colorado Northwestern Community College.

The price is certainly right for students; rather than get waiting to get started on their post-secondary education and spending more money on tuition, Moffat County students are able to take on those same courses at CNCC without the same costly fees they might see elsewhere.

Some might get vocational training at outlets such as the CNCC cosmetology program, and some may even go as far as getting their full two-year associate’s degree.

Many MCHS students were among the latest CNCC graduation at the school’s Rangely campus earlier this month.

Among them was graduate Grace Baker, who mowed through pre-requisite college classes early in her high school year.

“I started doing concurrent enrollment as a freshman with some of the AP classes,” she said. “I wasn’t super-serious about getting my associate’s or anything, but I had already gotten all my grad requirements out of the way already, so I figured I’d bust the associate’s this year. I took 21 credit hours this fall and 17 this spring, so now I’m done.”

Baker plans to attend the nursing program at Bozeman’s Montana State University and will have a considerable head start.

Fellow grad Reagan Hafey also gained her associate’s degree, the first step as she works toward a major in human biology with a minor in psychology at Nebraska’s Chadron State College. The long-term goal is to attend graduate school and eventually gain a doctorate in physical therapy.

“Being able to get my associate’s before heading off to college has really been beneficial as I feel like I was able to become more prepared for what my next two years of college is going to throw at me, Hafey said. “It also was helpful that it took my seven years of college down to five.”

Baker said her time in CNCC classes gave her an idea of what her impending time at a four-year program will entail, though she knows it will still be a change.

“I do, but I don’t; I know that a bigger university is going to be different and a lot more exciting and a lot more people, classes will be a lot harder,” she said. “I have a lot of big goals, and I’m really excited to reach them.”

Baker added that the structure of dual enrollment is one all the students of Moffat County should take advantage of at some point regardless of their future plans.

“It was definitely stressful, but I’ve encouraged a lot of younger kids to do it,” she said. “Whether it’s essay-writing or just the experience of the bigger classloads, I recommend it, because it helps so much.”

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