American Honors, the student success program, has been initiated by Pierce College and has officially begun.
American Honors is designed to extend a hand to help community college students reach their academic goals and prepare to transfer to a university. There are 61 students in this program from the Puyallup campus and 37 at Fort Steilacoom.
“It’s kind of a grand experiment. We really hope that there will be some positive impacts. We think there will be,” said American Honors director Emily Kulbacki. “We looked at the program and we think it’s a great opportunity for Pierce.”
The program currently offers eight honors classes. Currently, the Puyallup campus offers English 103, Political Science 203, Communications 220, and Psychology 100. Fort Steilacoom offers English 101, English 103 and Philosophy 230.
One honors class costs about $640 compared to a standard college class which costs $534. Students may only take two honors classes per quarter. Each teacher for every honors course has been trained to form a curriculum based around American Honors. The smallest honors class has six students and the maximum has 15.
“I’ve been exposed to higher levels, so it seemed really close to my AP class that I took,” said Kendra Larson, who is in honors English.
An extra tuition fee per quarter of $275 is also needed as this covers the cost for seminars, study materials, social events and time with an adviser.
Aside from strictly academic time, American Honors serves as a way to bond with other Pierce students. Throughout the year, dinners, barbeques, movie and game nights will be planned to form a community atmosphere.
“I liked the idea because at the community college I am a Running Start student, and I’m kind of in between high school and college and I don’t really have that community feel, so I thought American Honors would be a good opportunity for that,” student Cassie St. George said.
Each community college participating with American Honors has a designated adviser who spends time with each student in the program and gives encouragement.
Maria Dela Paz is the American Honors adviser for both Pierce campuses.
“I’m really passionate about education and I believe that in the first two years of school, students need support,” Paz said.
In order to advise students, Paz will lead seminars in the library every other week. For first year students, it will be a leadership seminar focused on developing leadership styles as well as looking at successful leaders in the world. For second year students, the seminar will regard transfer information such as researching different colleges, looking at applications, writing personal statements and looking at all the transfer information necessary. There is also a website designed to help students called Quad Learning and includes online seminars and virtual classrooms.
On Sept. 26, a lounge space exclusively for American Honors students was opened in the College Center building next to the book store. It serves as a place where American Honors members can hang out, relax and study.
“I can just go in there and someone will probably be in there to hang out and I don’t have to worry about introducing myself or anything, I can just come in and chill,” student Jacquelynn Wicka said.
Recently, one event that took place for American Honors was the “Big Dream Dinner” on Oct. 1. Students, faculty and administration attended and listened as each student shared what their dream was. Many more events are to come.
Students may apply now for the 2015 – 2016 school year by going online to the official American Honors website. To apply, you can be a first or second year student who is on track to earn an associates degree planning on transferring to a four year university and is at college level in English and math.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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