GROWING UP WITHOUT GOING AWAY
Lois Rotuno, 18, of Oberlin, was earning college credits while she was attending classes at Firelands High School. Rotuno will graduate from Firelands High School in June, but before she does, she will have earned her Associate of Arts degree from Lorain County Community College.
The assumption that every college freshman moves into a tiny dorm room, leaving parents and old friends behind in one fell swoop isn’t all that accurate. Some students start their educational career while still in high school.
Rotuno, high school student at Firelands, began her college degree in 2010. Rotuno said, “I remember the first day. My grandfather had to bring me to the LCCC campus because I did not have my driver’s license.”
Firelands High School is just one of the many who participate in the Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) program. This program allows students to earn college credits while in high school, all for free. Under this program, students enroll in courses at LCCC and receive dual credit for high school requirements and for college credit. These credits may be used at LCCC or for transfer to the college or university of choice after high school graduation. Even books and other fees are covered under this state-funded program.
Rotuno said, “At first it was awkward as there were so many people older than me – even my parents’ age.” She quickly discovered college is different than high school. “You go to class then you leave. In high school you hang out with your friends,” she said.
Rotuno’s focus has always been in pre-medicine. In her sophomore year, Rotuno took two classes at LCCC, but after that, it was full time all the way at LCCC. Some of her courses were a mixture of land-based and online. Rotuno even learned that Anatomy and Physiology II online was a big help. Plus, she took one summer class just to move her degree forward. A bachelor of science with a major in psychiatry is her next step.
Lois Rotuno is a recipient of the LCCC Trustee Scholarship. These funds will help Rotuno to attend Cleveland State University where she will pursue a bachelor of science in psychology through LCCC’s University Partnership.