Katelin Lindrose says getting a jump on college while in high school helped her to land a teaching position and saved her money on her education.
The 2009 graduate of Greater Johnstown High School, who is now a kindergarten teacher at Conemaugh Township Area Elementary School, said she was able to take advantage of a special student-teacher program at Penn State University because her postsecondary head start in high school freed up her academic schedule to do so.
The special program enabled her to teach middle school students in State College for an entire year as opposed to most student-teaching programs, which only last for half a year.
“It really set me apart,” she said, adding that she believes that additional experience helped her to land the position at Conemaugh Township.
Lindrose graduated from Greater Johnstown five years ago with 18 credits from Pennsylvania Highlands Community College.
“Eighteen credits was a lot at that time because the program was in its early stages,” she said.
Those 18 credits allowed her to skip the entire first semester at Penn State.
“It allowed me to focus on classes in my major rather than take the required courses for freshmen,” she said.
The 18 credits also helped her financially. While in high school, she received grants through the school that paid for half of her credits. She paid $30 a credit for the remainder. One credit at Penn State at the time cost $450, she said.
One semester at Penn State at that time cost $7,000, so by cutting out one semester, she saved $7,000 plus room and board and other expenses.
Lindrose said she took extra credits each semester at Penn State plus three classes at Penn Highlands one summer.
That, along with the credits earned in high school, enabled her to graduate and start working sooner.
She graduated from college in May 2012 and was hired as a teacher the following month.
“The teachers at Greater Johnstown did a great job in helping to prepare you for the type and quality of work expected at the college level,” she said. “That allowed for a more seemless transition when entering college.”
Like many of today’s high school students, Lindrose was active in high school while taking college courses.
She played soccer and softball and ran on the track team. She was president of the Key Club, an organization that conducts many service projects in the community.
She also worked part time at a pizzeria in Westwood.
“It’s very manageable,” she said about that busy life. “You have to really make sure you have a schedule set and set ample time a way for your schoolwork.”
Frank Sojak is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/FrankNews10.