Western Nevada College News & Notes: Dayton senior thankful for Jump Start College

Kassandra Acosta

Kassandra Acosta

Spending her senior year of high school in the Western Nevada College Jump Start College program has given Kassandra Acosta an educational opportunity that’s already leading to success.

She completed her freshman year at Western Nevada College, just days before she received her high school diploma from Dayton High School.

“I really loved the program,” said Acosta. “It was an amazing opportunity. The teachers are amazing and super helpful, and the TAs are amazing.”

Acosta was part of a wave of high school juniors and seniors in Northern Nevada who took part in WNC’s Jump Start College program. Students can earn up to an associate degree by the time they graduate from high school. Besides Dayton, other participating high schools include Virginia City, Aspire, Carson, Churchill County, Douglas, Fernley, Pioneer, Pyramid, Silver Stage, Smith Valley and Yerington. Other Jump Start College education partners include I-School, Nevada Homeschool Network, Nevada Virtual Academy and Oasis Academy.

“The college is very proud of Kassandra Acosta and the other outstanding Jump Start College students from the Dayton High School cohort,” said WNC Dean of Student Services John Kinkella. ”Kassandra is an intelligent, mature and dedicated student. She has shown the courage to change, and her courage has inspired others to ramp up their education through this partnership.

“We are especially thankful for the support of Dayton Principal (Steve) Henderson and Lyon County Superintendent (Wayne) Workman. Their leadership and support for Kassandra and the other Jump Start College students made this opportunity possible.”

She weathered some difficulty in a Math 126 Precalculus class, and made a smooth transition from high school to college student.

“I came prepared,” Acosta said. “I was already taking honor and AP classes in my high school, and I was taking advanced classes since I was in eighth grade.”

At WNC, it didn’t take Acosta long to realize she’d have more responsibility and a larger workload in college.

“It’s more independent,” she said. “It’s a lot different environment. You are way more responsible for yourself.”

Acosta has taken classes with other Jump Start students from Dayton and Carson City high schools, as well as home-school students. But when she was in the classroom with regular college students, she felt more pressure to perform.

“It makes me up my game,” Acosta said. “I don’t want to be considered a young person and someone who doesn’t know or isn’t prepared. You have to prove yourself here, especially in the Jump Start program.”

Because of an ongoing number of tests, presentations and papers, Acosta sometimes found herself studying until 5 a.m.

“That’s my record time,” she said. “There were nights when I didn’t sleep. It depended on the day and how I prioritized things. Using your time wisely throughout the day and the semester was important.”

Realizing a year’s worth of college credits is even more meaningful to Acosta because of the cost. Lyon County School District covered the expenses of her tuition and books at WNC.

“I was really surprised that they were going to do that,” Acosta said. “It’s a relief and a blessing at the same time. It’s something I don’t take for granted because not everybody has the same opportunity.”

Her daily schedule at WNC allowed Acosta time to return to Dayton High School for one class — leadership.

“The class was community-based,” Acosta said. “We did things for the community, held fundraisers and planned events for the school. I loved leadership; it was a class I got to unwind in and think of other people.”

Thanks to WNC’s Jump Start College, Acosta will feel more comfortable relocating 2,000 miles from home. She plans to start classes at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., in the fall. She’ll double major in psychology and law at the liberal arts college with the goal of becoming a district attorney.

“I wouldn’t have traded the Jump Start program for anything,” Acosta said. “It prepares you in a way that nothing else could prepare you for college.”

Auto Class Places Students Into Local Jobs

Western Nevada College Automotive Technology students have cause for celebration. They combined to pass 45 Automotive Service Excellence exams this spring, and the class placed five students and a teaching assistant into jobs at local tire and auto shops. Five students got jobs right away.

“I’m very pleased,” said WNC Automotive Technology Instructor Jason Spohr.

WNC students were hired at Tires Plus, Les Schwab in Carson City, Les Schwab in Gardnerville, Gesselman’s Garage in Gardnerville, and All American Auto in Gardnerville.

Two students were part of the Jump Start College high school to college program, representing Carson High School.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment