Scholastic Institute provides opportunities for students


Hayden Walker

Junior Janelle Minor works on her schoolwork, which consists of both college and high school classes. Minor is one of the 13 OHS students participated in the Scholastic Institute this year.

Hayden Walker, Staff Writer

This year, OHS is offering a new dual enrollment program for juniors and seniors called the Scholastic Institute. Currently, there are 13 students taking classes at both OHS and Northwest Community College. Dr. Steve Hurdle, former principal at OIS, is spearheading the new program.

“The Scholastic Institute is a form of a middle college,” Hurdle said. “The big difference with that is that it allows students to take coursework to earn a degree. So, it’s not just taking a class here or there. This program says ‘ok, you’re pursuing an associate’s degree.’”

According to Hurdle, students who successfully complete the Scholastic Institute program will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree, so they will be able to enter any university in Mississippi as a junior.

“Finishing up those both at the same time [gives] the students kind of a leg up going into college,” Hurdle said.

The Scholastic Institute is one of only a few dual enrollment programs in Mississippi. Currently, the program is free of charge for students who get accepted.

“We want to make sure that we are reaching out to students who are first-generation college,” Hurdle said. “So, a big component is that it doesn’t cost anything.”

Junior Richard Wright, one of the 13 students who is taking classes at Northwest, hopes to go into the medical field after graduating.

“It definitely affects where I’m going to start applying for,” Wright said. “Starting off, I want to go to Ole Miss and then medical school.”

Wright feels like the Scholastic Institute is a good way for him to get ahead, even though he has to take college-level midterms and finals for all his classes. 

“During my third period, I go to Northwest for my biology class and biology lab,” Wright said. “They meet three times a week, and I have a lab on Thursdays. I have all of [my classes] through Northwest, so I get the college credit, and I get the high school credit for it too. Sadly, I have exams every so often and then the midterm and final.”

Because of the program, Wright is able to leave after fourth period every day. Time management is the most important factor for him.

“I wouldn’t say it’s harder, I would say its more time-consuming,” Wright said. “It moves at a faster rate than a regular high school class would, but it’s manageable.”

Junior Janelle Minor is excited that the Scholastic Institute will allow her to complete her undergraduate degree early so that she can move on to post graduate studies.

“I’ve taken AP classes before, so I decided to just do the whole college thing,” Minor said. “I thought it would be better for me to get two years of college out of the way, so when I get ready to graduate I can just go straight into everything pertaining to the major that I want to do. I know that I want to major in history, and after that I either want to get a law degree or a history PhD and be a history professor.”

Dr. Hurdle hopes to expand the program in the coming years, but he also wants to keep a diverse group enrolled.

“We started out this year really small,” Hurdle said. “I hope to get many more students involved in [the program]. We really want to make sure we’re a diverse group of students. One of my goals is that of the 13 students currently, we will have 100% of them with an associate’s degree at the end of their senior year.”