Chaminade Silversword

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Chaminade Silversword

Chaminade Silversword

Chaminade Early College Program in Full Swing

University Communications and Marketing
These 17 Sacred Hearts students have challenged themselves by completing high school and college coursework at the same time.

Chaminade University’s Early College program with Sacred Hearts Academy has given students a preview of what college has to offer. 

In 2020, an idea to provide Sacred Hearts students the opportunity to take college courses arose. Fast forward to 2023, the program has officially opened and is in its first year of operation. The goal of the program is to get these high school students an associates degree while still in high school. Under the direction of Kim Baxter, a Communication professor at Chaminade University, professors have been teaching these students at the Sacred Hearts campus.

There are a total of 17 students in the program’s first year, consisting only of high school juniors. Students were first approached about the program by email at the end of their sophomore year. After applying and being accepted into the program, a second meeting was conducted, discussing what to expect from the professors and what specific courses students would be taking. The program specifically targets the junior class because as explained by Baxter, most high school students are looking ahead at college and are taking college courses in high school to get a head start.

“Studies have shown that students who take college courses in high school have a higher college going rate,” Baxter said. “They do better in college and get more involved in college, so this is just a fantastic opportunity to engage these students at a younger age and get them succeeding into college.”

Even though there are other schools that have a program like this, Baxter explained how Chaminade differs from those schools. For one, Chaminade sends its professors to Sacred Hearts instead of having the students come to the Chaminade campus. Another difference is that the other programs offer asynchronous courses, while Chaminade is in-person classes.

Although the program is helping these students, there are challenges that come with it. Students must be able to simultaneously keep up with their high school work and the early college course work as well. Sacred Hearts junior Lindsey Dimaya noted that one of her friends had to drop bowling because the workload was not manageable. For some however, it has been easy to do both. For Dimaya, she likes some aspects of the college program more than parts of high school life. 

“Personally, for me, I think being in this program has made me more relaxed because compared to high school the deadlines for college assignments are more relaxed,” the 16-year-old junior said. “It’s given me a taste of the college life and some of the freedom that college kids experience.”

An upside to the program is that Sacred Hearts students do not have to pay for the program itself, as the cost of it is already covered through their normal tuition costs at Sacred Hearts. The only costs that the students and their families have to cover are for textbooks and online fees. 

The courses that are offered are mainly general education ones. So far, a total of six courses have been offered. In the summer, students were able to take First Year Experience and Intro to Expository Writing. Currently, General Biology I, Expository Writing, Introduction to Communication, and America through Civil War are being taught. These classes are being taught by Dr. Eva Washburn-Repollo, Dr. Frank Bailey, Dr. Koreen Nakahodo, and Dr. Genevieve Griffiths.

Washburn-Repollo is an associate professor of Communication at Chaminade University. Washburn-Repollo teaches COM 101 to the Sacred Hearts students and is excited to see the progress the students have made to this point. She points out how these students have stepped up and answered the challenge of doing both high school and college work. Washburn-Repollo explained how teaching the students have not only had a positive impact on them but for her too.

“I think the fun part about teaching younger kids is their so imaginative, and that’s probably why I enjoy teaching them,” the Communication professor said. “Thats the reason why I’m so energized when I teach them, these students are full of energy and are very creative with the work that they do.”

In 2024 and 2025, students will take 15 courses.

These Sacred Hearts students will earn their associates degree on May 3, 2025 in a joint ceremony with Chaminade. After that, the students will earn their high school diploma. As an added benefit of being in the program, depending on what college the students apply to, students could possibly take only two more years of college to earn their bachelor’s degree. 

Spring 2024
General Biology II
World Religions
Beginning Ceramics
America since Civil War

Summer 2024
Influential Women in Christianity
Christian God & Human Experience

Fall 2024
College Algebra
English Elective
Justice, Development and Human Rights
BU 200

Spring 2025
English Elective
General Psychology
Principles of Macroeconomics

In addition to the current cohort of students, the program is looking to make a major change by adding an additional cohort of students next year. When asked what she would say to students interested in joining, Dimaya had words of encouragement for those underclass that are interested.

“If you know you have the time and can make the time, you should go for it,” Dimaya said. “The program is challenging at times for some, but the rewarding feeling and the possible early college graduation date is worth it.”