Ririe hasn’t always had the dual credit system they have now. When Tommie Mangis began working as the College & Career Advisor as well as the Dual Credit Coordinator, she says maybe three or four students were taking the classes.
Dual credit courses are classes that can be taken in addition to regular high school course requirements that count for high school and college credits. The classes are offered at a reduced rate from regular college courses and that reduced cost is covered by funds allocated to schools for each student.
In the five years Mangis has been with Ririe, the number of students in dual credit courses has risen to 212.
KayLyn Jacobson will be graduating from Ririe High School this year, but not before she graduates from the College of Southern Idaho with her associates. Jacobson will receive her associates degree May 7 from CSI – 19 days before she graduates from Ririe High School.
Mangis said that Jacobson, the daughter of Jessica and Kyle of Swan Valley, transferred to Ririe as a freshman ready to utilize the dual credit program.
“It just blows my mind at how great she’s done,” Mangis said. “She’s taken all her dual credit courses online by herself in addition to her high school courses. At some of the bigger districts, students can take these classes at the high school or at the college offering the class.”
KayLyn said that going into the program, it helped to know what career she wanted to pursue.
“I honestly don’t know if I would be going into this career if I didn’t do dual credit,” said KayLyn, who’s planning to study to be a Physical Therapist Assistant. “I’ve always been interested in learning about the human body – it’s always fascinated me – but I knew I didn’t want to do school for too long.”
KayLyn decided that she wanted to do PTA since her freshman year before transferring when she had a teacher that went through physical therapy to help them walk again.
“Tommie Jo totally set me up with knowing what classes I needed and what credits I had left to take,” KayLyn said. “I never thought I’d get an associates but she really won me out and showed me that I could it.”
KayLyn’s mom Jessica said that this accomplishment is “over-the-top exciting” for them and that she’s just so proud of all the work KayLyn has put in.
“When we started the whole dual credit thing, we thought that she would just get as many classes done as possible and that maybe she would get close to earning a degree, but I just didn’t know if that would happen,” Jessica said. “One of her guidance counselors in Bonneville have us the impression that we wouldn’t be able to finish it but when we moved to Ririe, Tommie Jo made it become a reality.”
Jessica said that’s when things got super exciting and real.
“It’s has not been a cakewalk,” Jessica said, laughing.
Although the work has been time consuming and she’s had to sacrifice to earn her degree, KayLyn has still been able to enjoy some of her favorite hobbies like cross country, hunting, ice fishing, snowmobiling, riding ATVs and doing horse trail riding.
“I’m not weird,” KayLyn joked after her mom emphasized the time that went into getting her associates. “Whenever I tell someone I’m getting my associates degree before I graduate they say ‘wow you must be really smart,’ but you don’t need to be smart to do it – you just need dedication and a Tommie Jo.”
Jessica and Kyle have two other daughters, Haylee who’s a junior and Lexie who’s a seventh grader, coming up through the district. Haylee is hoping to go into Computer Technology/Web Development and while there isn’t a degree available that covered her goals, she’ll still be able to graduate with a certificate from dual credit courses by the time she graduates high school. Jessica said Lexie will hopefully begin dual credits next year.
“Her dad and I, neither one of us got a degree,” Jessica said. “We’ve got a first generation graduate here and it’s great to see our kids excelling where we didn’t.”
Kyle agreed that it’s been awesome to see KayLyn’s accomplishment.
Following both of her graduations, KayLyn hopes to be accepted into CSI for the fall semester to continue her education.
“I think it would be great to encourage kids out there to take advantage of it,” Jessica concluded. “It’s a lot of work but to save yourself that much time... it’s great because you take one class and get double credits. You’re able to get ahead and it’s just a really positive thing in [KayLyn’s] life even though it’s been a lot of work.”