Nineteen-year-old Kayla Corne is graduating with an associate’s degree in applied science and a high school diploma as a student with Monroe County Middle College.
Kayla began her freshmen year of high school in 2010, but rather than attend Ida High School, where most of her peers would be, she took classes on MCCC’s main campus.
In the second semester of her sophomore year, Kayla officially dual enrolled with the college.
Attending the main campus for all of her classes helped her prepare for the real challenge of higher education in a way most Monroe county high schools don’t, she said.
“It set me up to be successful in college. We were pushed, but in the right way. I turned our homework in early if I could. I asked questions.”
Her friends from middle college held each other accountable and sharpened each other as better students, with friendly competition and constructive criticism.
She said she felt confident to ask her professors questions, and wasn’t afraid to ask them to explain something clearer when needed.
Kayla received a full ride scholarship to the University of Toledo and is going into speech language pathology.
“I have always wanted to help children with disabilities and this was an avenue that would allow me to do that in a one-on-one setting.”
She will transfer as a junior, and won’t have to take any prerequisites once she arrives at UT— just two years of career related courses.
“I can jump right in, get my degree, and move on again,” she said.
Kayla said she isn’t upset about missing out on the “high school experience.”
She put all of her effort into her academics instead of band or drama.
Although she said she has nothing against these programs, she knew where she wanted to end up, and could get there without the distractions of
Kayla instead spent her time on the Student Ambassador Club, the International Studies Club, and as a Writing Fellow.
Kayla thanked MCCC counselors Jill Danko and Cheryl Kehrer.
“The community college has done everything for me that I could have dreamed,” she said.
“Some people say things about community college, but my community college was amazing,” she said.
Kayla’s professors have provided the help she needed, she said, and she expects her connection with them to remain.
“Down the road if I need help to transition further, I know I can come back to my roots and get that help that I need,” she said.
Evin Daniels is deciding between UT and Eastern Michigan University. He is graduating with an associate’s degree in Business Management, but is planning to get his bachelor’s in Education.
Evin can see himself working in Monroe or Toledo, but really wants to move to a city somewhere near Philadelphia.
Evin said MCCC seems like a more legitimate community college. However, he never sought much help from the college’s faculty or services, finding it entirely possible to get by on his own strengths.
He said he enjoyed professor Richard Hoover’s teaching and is currently in a course with Business professor David Reiman.
“Professor Reiman is a really cool dude,” he said.
In the end, Evin spent five years to get his two year degree. His advice to students is:
“Don’t mess around taking one or two classes here and there every semester. Tough it out, go full time,” he said.
Alyshia Uthoff is grateful for MCCC’s help preparing to become a university student.
“I am honestly so blessed and thankful that the college has allowed and accepted dual enrollment students to challenge themselves for a higher education,” she said.
She will be going to school for Fisheries and Wildlife Management, and is prepared to work anywhere in the country for state, or federal, wildlife agencies doing biology field research. However, she would love to work in Michigan’s
“This college has opened doors for me to help my future,” she said.
Alyshia, who is graduating with her associate’s degree of applied science before her high school diploma, feels grateful and blessed to be this far along at her age.
“For students who are just starting or getting ready to start the next chapter in their life, you can do it,” she said.
Alyshia is transferring to Northern Michigan University, and she gives MCCC credit for giving her the opportunity.
“I wasn’t accepted because of my GPA nor my ACT score, it was because I took classes here at MCCC,” she said.
She suggested students take any opportunity they can get and if they are having issues, talk to your professor.
Communication is a major need in college and will help make your experience better, she said.
Alyshia believes that taking the initiative with your plans is key.
“You have to take ownership of your education and strive for it,” she said.