Book ‘Em!

Faculty volunteer Carole Makewich helps student Tamika Taylor shop for textbooks.

Faculty volunteer Carole Makewich helps student Tamika Taylor shop for textbooks.

For Alex Adrian, the thing he’s looking forward to most about taking classes at Clark College is something he won’t be doing–namely, rote vocabulary quizzes.

“I would finish them in, like, half the time provided,” said the Hudson’s Bay High School student. “It was really boring.”

Alex was one of 214 Running Start students to attend the Clark College Bookstore’s Running Start Open House on August 27. Running Start is a Washington state program that allows qualified high school students to take community college classes for credit during their junior and senior years, potentially earning an associate degree while still in high school.

Running Start Open House

Father-and-son duo Peter and Alex Adrian were getting ready for Alex’s first year at Clark by attending the Running Start Open House.

“It’s such a great opportunity, especially for bright kids like Alex,” said Alex’s father, Peter Adrian, who had brought his son to the open house to shop for textbooks. Peter added that, with two younger children at home, the opportunity to save on college tuition for Alex was also appealing. Running Start tuition is significantly lower than standard college tuition.

Some 1,771 Running Start students are expected to attend Clark during the 2013-2014 academic year–a record number. Each year, the Bookstore hosts an open house before fall quarter begins so that students and their parents can become familiar with college systems, including Tutoring Services, Clark College Libraries, and ASCC (student government). Additionally, Bookstore staff set up informational stations where visitors could learn about how to best use the Bookstore’s services.

“This is a three-quarter textbook,” Bookstore employee Ali Hallenbeck told a small crowd gathered at the “Affordable Textbook Options” station as she held up a massive, hardback tome with Japanese writing on it. “If you’re only taking one quarter of the language, it’s probably cheaper to buy this,” she added, holding up a thinner, soft-cover workbook.

“The main reason for the open house is to give students a chance to visit the bookstore and learn about how to find out what books and supplies will be needed for their classes,” said Bookstore Secretary Senior Leah Skeen, who organizes the event every year. “Students are taught how to use the book list and supply list. The secondary purpose for the event is to provide a fun, inviting atmosphere to welcome the students to Clark, help them feel comfortable starting a new school, and let them know the resources available to them. The open house is a time to build relationships and let students know were here for them. Hopefully, after attending the event, they feel more confident and prepared for their first day of class at Clark.”

Bookstore buyer Kaina Barba helps students out at the technology desk.

Bookstore buyer Kaina Barba helps students out at the technology desk.

It seemed to be working for Fort Vancouver High School student Tamika Taylor. She decided to enroll in Running Start to accelerate her ability to join the U.S. Navy, where she hopes to become a cryptology technician, a field that appeals to both her love of math and her sense of tradition; both her grandfather and father served in the military. When asked what she was looking forward to most about her time at Clark, she unhesitatingly answered, “Math class.”

And did she feel at all nervous about taking on the challenge of college while still in high school? Taylor looked around the Bookstore for a second, then smiled and said, “Not really, no.”


Photos: Clark College/Jenny Shadley