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Letters to the Editor

Inaugural Sauk Valley Academy unites elite high school students

Informational meeting scheduled for Thursday

Jon Mandrell
Jon Mandrell

One of the many ways higher education is evolving is by increasing access to high school students, most notably by providing access to dual credit programs.

Dual credit is a unique opportunity that enables high school students to receive high school and college credit simultaneously.

To participate, local high school students enroll in a variety of ways. The most common method is to take courses at their own high school from their own college-level qualified faculty.

SVCC also offers courses taught online and directly on the SVCC campus.

The career aspirations of these dual credit students include medicine, law, education, engineering, nursing, public service, welding, manufacturing, and many more. The number of dual credit students attending courses on our campus has grown immensely in recent years, providing the college with another great opportunity to engage in our community and further serve our mission.

In response to the significant growth of high school students attending SVCC, the college created a unique opportunity for this population built upon academic excellence and leadership principles – The Academy at Sauk Valley Community College.

Launched this fall, “The Academy” provides high-achieving students the opportunity to spend all day on our campus while completing the general education requirements of a college degree. In all, this amounts to approximately 37 credit hours.

Sixteen students, representing nine local high schools, make up the inaugural class, taking many classes together as a cohort and building a sense of camaraderie.

Students also attend sessions from 4-year colleges and universities that interest them as a transfer destination, and engage with local leaders to learn more about leadership topics.

“The thing I loved about the Academy is that it gave me the opportunity to get ahead in college,” Abby Willging, an Academy student, said.

“This allowed me to start pursuing my dream job as a clinical pharmacist while still being able to participate in my senior year of sports and theater at Fulton High School,” Willging said.

Kallie Timmons of Prophetstown High School is pursuing a career in journalism with aspirations to attend law school.

“In our society today, it is almost certain there will always be someone better than you in the field you wish to pursue, and in my opinion, the Sauk Academy is the best opportunity our area provides to help students stay as competitive as possible,” Timmons said. “I feel as if I have been given a glimpse into my future without ever leaving the people and places that have made me who I am.”

Sauk is honored to serve our local students, and we look forward to welcoming many more into this challenging program.

Are you interested in The Academy? Visit for program and application information, and mark your calendar for the student/parent information meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday. SVCC representatives will discuss the application process, the benefits of the program, and answer questions. Please RSVP with the number of attendees.

And remember, Sauk makes it possible, YOU make it happen.

Note to readers: Jon Mandrell is vice president of Academics and Student Services at Sauk Valley Community College, rural Dixon.

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