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Op-Ed: How the Running Start Program Benefits Students in a Wide Variety of Circumstances

Clark College campus, Photo Courtesy Clark College Official Website

Running Start is a program that allows Camas High School (CHS) students to take classes at Clark College while synonymously fulfilling their high school credits. With the help of counselors, students can graduate with their high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree (AD) in their respective fields. 

Clark College poster at CHS

“I want to go into the medical field, which [requires] many years of education, so this helps knock some of those out,” Running Start student and CHS senior Anastasia Aizen said. “At Clark, I can pick stuff that fits more towards my career rather than just graduating high school.”

The program covers the majority of the cost of classes taken at Clark so students do not have to worry as much about how to attack the classes financially. 

“The school pays for most of the credits and the rest of them are covered by the state, so I don’t pay for anything,” Running Start student and CHS senior Anna Yunchyk said. “It’s been a long journey because I did classes in the summer and it requires a lot of discipline to get things done on time.”

Although the courses are designed to be taken in parallel with the high school curriculum, the classes are still at the college level, so there is a fair amount of work to do to graduate on time.

“Time management is needed. To some students that comes easily and to others it’s a bit harder,” CHS Counselor Sarah Warta said. “It can be especially challenging if you’re doing a sport and working. Trying to navigate all of that at the same time can be challenging.”

CHS Counselor Sarah Warta performing counselor duties

Most students choose to go into the Running Start program to earn an AD in a field related to their ideal career, however, some students have different reasons. 

“I’ve only taken online classes, so it’s been pretty nice because everything is at my own pace. I get to do my assignments when I want to,” Yunchyk said.

“I feel like it’s made me a lot more prepared for what I want to do career-wise because I have been actively working towards it,” Running Start student and senior Rylan Voss said.

Running Start is beneficial to many students as it allows them to work at various paces more catered to their preferences. Whether someone is trying to get their AD by the end of high school or they just want to take a couple of college classes, student comments explain that Running Start has something to offer for everyone.

“I would recommend it to people who are looking to build their own structure and people who are looking for more challenging classes,” Ogle said.

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Troy Siemers
Troy Siemers, Staff Writer

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