Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 23, 2017

Graduating seniors honored at IHCC ceremony

By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | May 18, 2017
Photo by: Nicole Major These students graduated from the industrial maintenance  technology Academy with career diplomas in Industrial Maintenance. From left are FHS seniors Trenton Nelson and Eric Swan next to Cardinal senior Ryan Mouser and FHS senior Tristian Pohren. The instructor is Martin Blomme.

The spirit of accomplishment was palpable Wednesday afternoon at the Lincoln Center, where 28 high school seniors received Indian Hills Community College career diplomas, scholarships, certificates of completion and recognition for the multiple college credits they earned during the last two years.

“I’m feeling very accomplished!” exclaimed Fairfield High School senior Kellie Ann Hovorka, who racked up 41 college credit hours during her two-year health sciences program. Hovorka will also graduate from FHS May 28.

The Fairfield Area Career Academy is part of a partnership between IHCC, the Fairfield Community School District, Cardinal CSD and Van Buren-Harmony CSD.

Students can enroll during their junior year of high school to complete a two-year program for college credit ranging from industrial maintenance technology, health sciences, business and welding.

“I’m so proud of them,” said Karen Swanson, IHCC’s director of high school programs. “They have been full time college and high school students.”

Swanson said the program fosters good study habits, time management skills and students also “learn to work in the adult world.”

“This was a very great opportunity,” said Hovorka, who was enrolled in the Health Sciences Academy. “As I’m sure you can tell, the parents are happy about it, too. My parents are very proud.”

For Hovorka and her classmates who donned burgundy and gold cords around their necks — signifying their achievement — it was more than simply taking college credits while in high school.

“They got paid internships and got college credit for them,” Swanson said.

“I got to intern in the Legal and Compliance Department at Cambridge [Investment Research],” said FHS senior Kailey Kaska, who was enrolled in the Business-Finance Academy. “They were really good projects and everyone there was super nice. I got to job shadow, which helps to narrow things down, because at school you don’t get to know a lot of jobs that are out there … it was eye-opening.”

Kaska amassed 38 college credits.

Her classmate, FHS senior Sarah Davisson, who also interned at Cambridge, earned 41 college credit hours.

Davisson found the business program just as enriching.

“The biggest thing for me was I got to do a project on elder scams,” Davisson said, adding that she worked in the company’s Fiduciary Services Department. The entire department, plus FHS administrators, watched her presentation.

“Getting the feedback on the presentation was super,” Davisson said, further explaining that the internship provided an opportunity for her to see a lot of different jobs and what they entail.

During her 10-week internship, Davisson also learned life-lessons that might not easily be attained in a classroom environment.

“A lot of this was like staring at a computer screen, but I realized that I’m not always going to get a project that I like,” she said. “I can’t just switch a topic when I’m going through a [Microsoft] Excel spreadsheet … I would highly recommend to anyone to do the business program. This has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in high school.”

Davisson said she plans to be an elementary educator.

“It’s surreal,” said career academy parent Beverly Nelson of her son, Trenton Nelson’s completion of an industrial maintenance technology career diploma. “I’m excited, and he’s worked really hard for this.”

For Tristian Pohren, a homeschool student who also graduated from the industrial maintenance program and received a career diploma, the excitement is just beginning. Pohren received an Iowa Works scholarship to continue his education at IHCC to receive an Associate of Arts Degree in Applied Science within the same field. Swanson said the program picks up where the diploma left off, meaning Pohren would only have around a year left before he graduated with an AAS Degree.

“I enjoyed this program so much,” Pohren said. “It was a really good choice.”

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