MARQUETTE - Examining case studies and performing lab work are all in a normal day for most typical college students.
But they are also typical activities for at least 70 students from Marquette and Alger counties, as they are currently dual enrolled in one of four programs at the Northern Michigan University Jacobetti Complex and their own high schools.
"They come to class at the same time a college student does, sit in the theory course and also spend some time in the lab," said Daryl Kobie, head of Technological and Occupational Sciences at Northern. "We feel it's a good, worthwhile program and we're happy to be a part of it."
Welding instructor Yvonne LeMire demonstrates techniques to her students inside the Northern Michigan University Jacobetti Complex’s welding lab. Area high school students have the option of enrolling in four different programs at the Jacobetti Complex: aviation maintenance, cosmetology, culinary arts and welding. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
Culinary arts instructor Megan Keiser addresses her class of high school students inside a classroom at the complex. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
The students are afforded the opportunity to not only learn valuable skills for the work force, but also to earn some college credit for free.
Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Services Agency Career and Technical Education Coordinator Brian Sarvello organized the program between all pubic schools in Marquette and Alger counties with administrators at the Jacobetti Complex. He said the program is helpful for high-schoolers in many ways.
"There's several advantages," Sarvello said. "One is getting them on a college campus. It's good for students to experience that atmosphere. For a lot of our kids, it convinces them, 'I do want to consider college.' The other thing is they have the opportunity to earn some college credit at no cost to them."
The programs continue to gain in popularity, Sarvello said, with this year reaching an all-time high of 70 students enrolled in the four programs available to them: aviation maintenance, welding, cosmetology and culinary arts.
Kobie said the welding program has been the most popular of the four areas in recent years, with students from all across Marquette and Alger counties participating.
"We have students from Marquette, Negaunee, Ishpeming, NICE, we've had them as far away as Munising and Gwinn. Anybody in the MARESA school district is eligible," Kobie said. "It gives them a head start on their college education. If they do well in these courses, typically, with good attendance and good grades, they can receive ... collegiate credit ... or it gives them some skills if they want to go right into the work force."
In some cases, the high school students sit in on the same classes as their peers in college, helping further place them into that authentic college atmosphere.
Marc Sorrell,17, a senior at Ishpeming High School, currently spends five days a week at the Jacobetti Complex as a part of the culinary arts program at Northern, along with students from schools in the Negaunee, NICE and Gwinn districts, just to name a few.
Sorrell is learning different cooking techniques as well as standard safety procedures for any professional kitchen.
"I've always had an interest for cooking, culinary, it's just fun and I heard that NMU had a really good program for high school students to be able to get started. I just kind of jumped into it," he said. "It's helped me pursue my culinary career a lot more."
Sorrell said his career goals are to continue with his culinary education at Northern, eventually earning a full bachelor's degree in the culinary arts and then either heading out into the working world or furthering his education at the Culinary Institute of America.
"My ultimate goal is to be a really high sous chef," Sorrell said.
Sorrell's instructor, Megan Keiser, is herself a graduate of Northern's culinary arts program. She said offering the program to high schoolers is a good way to allow them to get started on the post-secondary education a little earlier.
"it's really valuable," Keiser said. "A lot of these students ... they're really involved and I think it provides a really good opportunity for them in the future."
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.