Bainbridge Island Students Take a ‘Running Start’

Bainbridge Island Students Take a ‘Running Start’

Today we start our quarterly tradition of publishing submissions created in Jeb Wyman’s English 101 class. These quarterly articles provide students with the opportunity to introduce their work to the world while learning about the ethics and disciplines that go with being a journalist. We proudly begin the series with an article from Running Start student Catherine MacLeod.

By Catherine MacLeod

Getting to school in the morning may seem like an easy task for city denizens, but some local high school students see it as a daily adventure. “Getting up to ride the ferry in the morning is one of my favorite parts about Running Start. The ferries are so relaxing and it’s nice to have some extra homework time,” says Kit Patterson, a junior at Bainbridge High School

Running Start Student Kit Patterson/Catherine MacLeod
Running Start Student Kit Patterson/Catherine MacLeod

Running Start created in 1990 allows local high school juniors and seniors to take tuition free classes at Washington community colleges while also earning their high school degree. It has become a popular academic choice for local Bainbridge High School Students.

“It’s a whole new experience,” says Ellie Conaty, a junior at BHS. “I’ve learned a lot about getting around in big cities using the bus system.” Running Start students start their mornings early, getting on boats as early as 6:20 to make their classes at Seattle Central on time. The hour and a half long commute each way is rigorous but provides a new exciting experiences for budding Seattle Central students.

Conaty and other students walk or take a bus to the Bainbridge Island Ferry Terminal and ascend to SCCC after disembarking from Pier 52 on the Seattle Waterfront.

Running Starts unique educational status affords students the opportunity to get a jump start on their education.

“When I graduate high school with my AA, I’ll basically be able to skip ahead two years of college and enter university as a junior. This saves so much time and money, I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to do it!” exclaims Dylan Lehotsky, a BHS senior.

Even students who don’t complete their AA in their last two years of high school benefit from the program.

“I only did Running Start for a year, but because I earned enough college credit I will be able to transfer to a university as a sophomore rather than a freshman,” Harry O’Connell explains. “Even though I didn’t get my AA, I still have a great opportunity to get ahead.”

The freedom of going to a college while still at a high school age is a hot sell for many area students even with the inclusion of a long ferry trip.

“I really love the freedom I have while doing Running Start,” Junior Erin Norton said. “I get to make so many more of my own decisions than I did in high school.” Norton also commented on the social aspect change of a high school versus college.

“In high school I always had to deal with cliques and bullying. You just don’t see that at Seattle Central. Everyone is so kind and accepting of one another.” Norton stated.

“Another great thing about Running Start is because of the shorter classes, I’m able to adjust my schedule so I can work after school, and that’s something I just couldn’t do at BHS.” Patterson said.

Commutes in the morning, a head start on education, or the freedom of college all offer incentive for the motivated student and Running Start sums up those incentives. It’s no wonder so many students are taking the initiative to further their education and try the exciting experience.

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