RUMFORD — Not all students at Mountain Valley High School follow the same path to graduation. Some learn vocational skills and earn certificates through Region 9 School of Applied Technology. Some earn credit through the Alternative Education Program. Others challenge themselves with Advanced Placement courses and even college courses.

Seniors Nathan Fitzpatrick and Brittany Gaudet earned both high school and college credit through course work at University of Maine at Augusta as part of the Aspiration Incentive Program. Fitzpatrick took English 101 during the fall semester and Gaudet is learning elementary statistics during the spring semester.

High School Aspirations Incentive Program allows high school students to take college courses through University of Maine at Augusta in an effort to raise the educational aspirations of Maine students. The program pays tuition and the student pays for books and fees.

Principal Matt Gilbert said, “I’m glad our students have access to courses we do not offer within our school. It is a great chance for highly motivated students to challenge themselves at a higher level.”

Fitzpatrick choose his course because, “I needed to meet the English course requirement for college next year.”

“I felt like this class would help me in my future plans,” Gaudet explained. “I also needed a math credit for graduation. I would have to take this class when I got in college any way so I get more than one benefit from it.”

For both students, the enrollment process was simple.

Gaudet said, “I had to talk to my principal and guidance counselor along with taking a math placement test to see what class is appropriate for my math level.”

Fitzpatrick added, “I enrolled through Roz Hodge at the UMaine Outreach Center in Mexico.”

In terms of learning, the courses get mixed reviews.

Fitzpatrick was disappointed with his experience with an online English course. He explained, “It was pretty easy. I solely wrote papers, had no interaction with other students or other types of projects. I would have preferred a more traditional class format.”

Gaudet is enjoying her course so far. She said, “I have learned a lot of new math vocabulary and how statistics really work. I had thought it would be mainly math equations but it is more explaining the math than anything. There are a few equations but they want you to use a calculator that gives you the answer because they are complex equations.”

Gaudet’s course is delivered through interactive television, along with an online component. She said, “No one is in the classroom I am in except me. I don’t know the total amount of students enrolled in the class.”

Gaudet contrasted her college course with the ones she has taken at MVHS.

“It is different from high school classes because I only go once a week,” Gaudet explained. “It is much faster paced. We go through one to two chapters a week, depending on how long the chapter is. We have a few exams throughout the semester covering a few chapters rather than a quiz every week over one chapter or only a section.”

Both students plan to continue their college education.

Fitzpatrick said, “I’ve been accepted to several four-year private colleges and am weighing my options. Those options include Clark, Wheaton and Clarkson.”

Gaudet said, “I plan on going to college for criminal justice and going to the Police Academy in two years to become a police officer for Mexico Police Department.”

Outside the classroom, Fitzpatrick is a leading man in the plays and musicals. He also runs cross-country, skis Nordic and runs track. He is a member of the National Honor Society and Student Council. He challenges himself academically at MVHS with Advanced Placement courses in European history, biology and calculus.

Gaudet is a captain in the Mexico Explorer Post. She also takes an automotive technology course at Region 9 School of Applied Technology.


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