North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Helping youth re-engage with education

 

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Marysville resident and current Everett Community College student with the Youth Re-engagement Program Samantha Hogue.

Everett Community College's Youth Re-engagement Program provides an opportunity for local students who did not get a high school diploma a second chance at education.

The program provides free college to local young people, along with help to keep students engaged.

"This is for kids who did not do well in high school, or get their diploma for whatever reason, but they see the value in education," said program director Rebecca Hungerford.

The program helps many young people around the entire county, including those in Marysville and Arlington.

Tim Williams and Kristie Williams lived in Marysville at the time they were home-schooled by their mother, but once their mother had to get a full-time job, Tim Williams said they had to figure out how to continue with their education.

"We were able to finish up our requirements for high school and work toward an associate's degree as well," he said.

"I liked the college setting, it gave you a real sense of urgency," he said.

Kristie Williams also said she thought the program is amazing.

"They always said if you need help that you can come to them," she said. "That's something my family took a lot of advantage of."

The Youth Re-engagement Program provides a case manager who help students with any problems they may have, even those outside of education, said Hungerford.

"If they need resources for mental health or substance abuse, we also connect the students with those, so it's not just hooking them up with a study buddy, although there is a lot of that too," she said.

Marysville resident and current Everett Community College student Samantha Hogue also came from a homeschool environment and said that the case manager has really helped her.

"I had no idea where to even start, so to be able to have someone walk you through how to register and how to start classes was really useful," she said.

"I don't think I would've gone to college without the program, even though I wanted to, just because I didn't really understand how to start," she said.

In the first quarter of the program students take a couple of "foundation" classes and then branch out to choose their own degree or path, said Hungerford.

Students earn credits to work toward a high school diploma and an associate's degree at the same time.

Some eventually transfer to a four-year university while others are just looking for their diploma, said Hungerford.

Tim Williams is one of the students who went on to university and is now applying for medical school which he hopes to attend next year.

The wide array of classes helped sharpen his skills for the medical field.

"I was a bit of a lost soul, I wasn't sure what I wanted to go do," he said, "but that turned out to be useful when I started getting into the medical field."

Many of the students said that they enjoyed their time at the college.

"My time there was very important," said Tim Williams.

"It's been great," said Hogue. "Obviously getting free college is awesome," she said.

Students are eligible for the program if they are 16 to 21 years old, don't have a high school diploma, have been a resident of Washington state for at least a year and have an eighth-grade reading level, which will be tested for prior to joining the program.

You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to apply, said Hungerford.

Those interested should call the college's main office at 425-388-9100 and ask to attend an information session. At the information session you can get an application packet, said Hungerford.

After applying there will be an orientation and one-on-one interview before acceptance.

More information about the program is available at Everett Community College's website at everettcc.edu.

 

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