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Middle College High School Students at Home at Vol State

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Volunteer State Community College

Bonnie Breland listens to her Volunteer State Community College instructor talk about an upcoming class assignment for the course, Experience Literature. It’s a college class, but Breland, of Gallatin, is not just a college student, she’s a Sumner County Middle College High School student. Her fellow classmates might not even notice. But Breland is earning college and high school credit at the same time. And she’s doing it on the Vol State campus in Gallatin. “I’m very independent as it is,” Breland said. “This allows me to do my own thing. I can do it myself. It was intimidating at first: the size of the campus and getting lost. I’m at ease here now. I feel comfortable.” It’s the first semester for Middle College High School at Vol State. Nearly fifty students are spending their junior or senior year at Vol State, taking college classes and getting used to college expectations. “It’s going very well,” said co-principal Brad Schreiner. “The students are excited. It’s college but we put a few safeguards in place- parental notifications about grades and we’ll have conferences with parents.” “They love it,” said the other co-principal, Betsy Hunter. “I have asked every group if they wanted to go back to high school and they say- no way!” “The classes are challenging. I have to be listening constantly to the instructors,” said Swati Patel of Hendersonville. “I like not being trapped in one building for seven or eight hours. Right now it’s been pretty easy to fit in. Most people don’t even know that I’m a Middle College High School student.” Students can benefit from courses that might not normally be held in high school. “We have a student taking a songwriting class this semester,” said Hunter. “We have another student taking a Saturday class. The students appreciate the class flexibility.” The College is working closely with Middle College High School administrators to ensure that students can take part in the other benefits of college life, such as campus events and speakers. Sumner County Schools pays for the program. But students need to keep up their end of the bargain. If a student gets a D or an F in a class, they will have to pay the county back for the class. Next year, they hope to double the number of students in the program. Applications for the second year of Sumner County Middle College High School will be available in November. For more information please visit http://scmc.sumnerschools.org.    ### Pictured: Middle College High School students Bonnie Breland of Gallatin (left) and Lily Gailmard of Hendersonville in an English class at Vol State.