As the wind blows the top of Ponderosa pines, Idaho City High School senior, Jason Carignan, works on his dual credit chemistry homework at his house, which bumps up against a portion of the more than two-million acre Boise National Forest.
Carignan is the first high school student in Idaho City, a small town 36 miles northeast of Boise and known for its famous gold rush during the 1860s, to graduate with an associate degree through College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Dual Credit program. He hopes to inspire future graduates to get a two-year degree while attending high school in this remote town, and so does the school’s counselor Lynsey Bell.
“In a rural community, it is hard to get resources and access to college classes," said Bell. "However, with the state of Idaho, and flexible college’s, like CWI, we have been able to provide those opportunities. Seven years ago, we had one student taking dual credit classes. This year, we had 38.”
Carignan, who has a passion for computer software engineering, also enjoyed the Liberal Arts classes he took through Dual Credit.
“I hope more people do what I did, it was a lot of work, but well worth it,” said Carignan. “Don’t even look at the degree and how the credits transfer — all the classes you take make you a better person overall. The money and time saved are obviously awesome, but the lessons I’ve learned doing it are incredible! Learning that sometimes you have to give up doing fun stuff to get something done was a big part of it.”
Dual credit programs are a collaborative partnership between Idaho’s colleges, universities, and high schools to deliver college-level courses to high school students. This program gives students the opportunity to receive both high school and college credits for pre-approved courses. For CWI’s Director of Dual Credit, Stephen Crumrine, it is an exciting time of year — CWI provides more than 10,000 high school students in the state with dual credit and a growing number of students graduating with an associate degree.
“It is a wonderful accomplishment for a student to complete college at the same time graduating from high school. CWI Dual Credit is very proud of Jason and wish him the best on his academic future; he is certainly off to a great start,” said Crumrine.