Monroe HS student gets jump on college career

Emma Calaway decided she needed a jump start to what she anticipates will be a long college career and she found the perfect boost at the central and Monroe campuses of Blackhawk Technical College.

One Friday in June, Calaway, 18, officially ended her high school studies at Monroe High School. Three days later, she officially was off on her college journey at Blackhawk with a summer school schedule of Intro to Sociology and Intro to Diversity Studies at the central campus, and Intro to Psychology at Monroe.

Add those classes to the Written Communications class she took during last spring semester while still attending Monroe High School and Calaway is well on her way to having what she hopes is near sophomore standing when she takes her college career to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville this fall. She’s also expecting to receive additional college credit for an Advanced Placement Calculus course she took at Monroe and is hoping to pass through some of her college language requirements after taking four years of high school German.

With some prodding from her mother, Linda, a part-time nursing assistant instructor at BTC’s Monroe campus, Calaway found it easy to make the college jump.

“I loved that Written Communications class so much that I decided to take more classes in the summer,’’ Calaway said one morning just minutes before starting her Sociology class with instructor Rubina Jan. “Besides, I just love the atmosphere you find at school.’’

Calaway was an A student in the honors program at Monroe High School, so this new academic load is not exactly intimidating for her. But what was of concern was her desire to become a pharmacist, a course of study that will begin at Platteville with a pre-pharmacy major. There will be four more years of post-graduate studies in pharmacy after completing her undergraduate studies.

So Calaway faced the practical issues of time and money when it came to her post-secondary education. As the fourth child to attend college in a family of six kids, she is grasping the economic impact of going to college.

“I knew that by starting at Blackhawk, I could save some money and save some time,’’ she explained. “I knew I could save money by starting my college career early.’’

Lending a helping hand was mom, Linda, who guided Emma through the registration process and the BTC computer system for students. “She knows all that it takes,’’ Emma said.

After her first taste of BTC programs, Calaway developed a further appreciation for education that comes with mixing with an older, more life experienced student population.

“She is one of the hardest working young people I’ve had the pleasure to teach,’’ said Jan, who is the instructor for Callaway’s two classes at the BTC main campus. “She has the ability to relate to everyone in the class. She is very respectful of the other students.’’

Calaway is the youngest student in her summer classes.

“I like taking classes with older people because I learn so much from them and their experience,’’ she said. “My brother teases me that when I get to Platteville, I’m not going to know what to do when I’m in a class of people my own age.’’

Calaway recommends that other high school students investigate the BTC route to getting a head start in their college careers.

“It’s not just taking the classes,’’ she said. “What you’re learning is the stuff you can apply in later classes and later in your life.’’