Group Picture at Milligan
Posted On: Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Yesterday, 50 Elizabethton High School seniors boarded a school bus and travelled 10 minutes down the road to Milligan College. And they went because of EHS’s brand new Senior Capstone Course.

This course was proposed a year ago as another “bookend” course for our students. During an Elizabethton High School student’s freshman year, they are required to take Cyclone Experience which incorporates project-based learning into must-know information for all high school students. They visit other classrooms, learn about electives, tour the CTE Department, figure out their favorite water fountain and more.

While this class is so well-received, we heard from students that they wish they could take a similar course in which they learn more “real world” information for after they graduate. A class that teaches them how to look for an apartment (and decorate it), what academic resources they can find at any college, how to play up their strengths and coordinate that with a career field, and more. We also have noticed that while most of our students do decide to go to college post-graduation, many end up dropping out their first year. Those who decide to not attend and post-secondary education opportunities sometimes join a field and sometimes not.

That’s why the high school decided to partner with the state’s second-best school to co-teach a Senior Capstone course (officially called “Success! Skills for Excelling in College and Life”). The course just began this semester, but so far has been wildly successful. Students have taken strengths finder tests and have learned to use online calendar systems as well as the learning management system that colleges use.

Kristal Dove, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Milligan and Co-Teacher of a Senior Capstone course, says, “As we’ve been exploring in the senior capstone course, there is significant value to be found in obtaining a college education and this trip gave them just a brief exposure to the type of institution that is out there for them.  My hope is that they realized that college is something they can achieve and that will prepare them greatly for the future if they choose that path.”

Last Thursday, all the students in this semester’s courses took a trip to Milligan to meet with current faculty, staff, and students. At the beginning of the day, students met with Kristin Wright (Director of Admissions), Heather Jackson (Director of Student Success and Disability Services), and Rita Booher (ECS School Board Chair, and Associate Director of Summer Programs and Campus Visits) to talk about what scholarships look like at colleges and universities including Milligan. They also covered what most admissions teams are looking for in students and academic and personal resources offered.

Daniel Proffitt, one of EHS’s teachers who took on teaching a capstone course, says of this talk, “Everyone did a great job talking…about college as a whole. We got a lot of great advice throughout the day!”

Other students agreed. One part of the trip consisted of talking to current students. Our students got to meet four students: one who came to Milligan through a more traditional route, an honors school student, a student that transferred after a year at another college, and a student who took a few years in the “real world” before attending. Morgan Smith told us that this was her favorite part of the trip, saying, “I loved hearing from current students -who took all different life routes… and about what to expect in college.”

After the morning session, our students divided into interest groups to meet with Education, Engineering, English, History, Science (Pre-Med), and Business professors. Chelsey Lavoie met with two Education professors and talked about her possible future in education.

Then, our students took tours of the campus with current students. One thing that made these tours different though, as Zach Hartley noted, was “the atmosphere was really nice, and everyone seemed to know every single person’s name when they passed us.”

Our students are interested in studying a wide array of topics, and some do not even plan on going to college next year. If anything, this course is teaching students pathways of how to get to their next chapter in life no matter what it is. Abbie Addington wants to be an engineer but was not so sure about what Milligan could offer her. She met with a professor yesterday who gave her advice on her top few schools, and she said, “He gave me the best advice about where I might be a good fit. I’m a super hands-on learner, so he told me what schools would be best with that style of learning.”

While this is only our first of several trips planned for post-secondary institutions for the course, we could not be more grateful to Milligan for spoiling our students on Thursday! We are focused on exploring all post-secondary options, and plan on showing off five of the most common schools our students attend post high school here at EHS that happen to be right here in east Tennessee: Milligan College, TCAT, Northeast State Community College, ETSU, UT Knoxville, and.

Any comments, questions, or concerns about the Senior Capstone course? Click here:

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