Issaquah High School and Bellevue College Graduations

Ava Wine, Staff Writer

Issaquah High School students are graduating on June 15, while Running Start students have an additional graduation on June 23. Many students are overwhelmed with excitement of one graduation, let alone multiple. IHS students taking Running Start classes get to experience two graduations, a college environment and many academic advantages. Some seniors recommend underclassmen to follow this pathway and offer tips for incoming juniors and seniors who are planning on attending Bellevue College.

College applications are one of the main stressors in high school juniors and seniors’ life. These applications can become less stressful with the help of Running Start because of the credits achieved through the college program. Most people attending Bellevue College are able to graduate with an associate degree. Due to the degrees and certificates that can be achieved in addition to a high school diploma, colleges can see this as an advantage over other applicants. A document published on the IHS website about Running Start FAQ’s states, “In-state public colleges are a part of the same higher education system as the running start campuses and have transfer credit guidelines established and posted for you to review.” When asked if they believe Bellevue College has helped them with applications, senior Lauren Elrod states, “Yes for sure, It shows you have more experience in a college setting.” Some seniors have a contradictory opinion, Senior Jack Berche disagrees, saying, “I have not seen a difference in my college applications [with Running Start].”

Would current seniors recommend running start to underclassmen? Senior Emily Burles recommends Running Start because “It gives you more specific options based on your interests rather than following a curriculum.” Even with all the positives and advantages, senior Seamus Walkiewicz brings up some of the hard truths of attending running start, “sometimes it is hard to remember the credits and transfer prosses.” In a resource provided by IHS About The Running Start Guidelines, the importance of keeping track of these requirements is explained. ” Students need to carefully track their graduation requirements and credits, and be honest with themselves, their families and their counselor about their status in Running Start classes.”

Running Start is incredibly rewarding academically, but sometimes it can be damaging to student’s social and mental health. Due to the isolation from those at the high school who you do not have classes with, or you cannot see anymore, it can be challenging adapting to a new environment and making new friends. Burles says, “It is normal to feel distant and stressed the first few months of Running start.” It is very important to try to connect not only with your peers but with your teachers. Doing Running Start is a huge step in your high school career and can be incredibly challenging, especially with the number of classes you must complete in a year, both full time running start and part time. Walkiewicz argues, “Part time Running Start can be harder than full time.” When taking part time, you have usually three to four classes at the high school and the rest at the college (online or in-person). Issaquah High School has semesters while BC has quarters. In general, finals are one of the hardest things for Running Start students to manage due to them being at separate times. Elrod suggests, “Make sure to communicate to your high school teachers what you are doing at the college and if it is possible you could ask for the work in advance, so you can complete it later when [finals] are done.”

Overall, Running Start has its positives and negatives but when asked all students said they would recommend this pathway to students due to the help it has given them academically and how it has helped them with maturity. Many students view Running Start as a “pre college” for students to discover what they need to do in terms of time management, keeping a healthy social environment, and a stable and supported mental health. According to the Bellevue College calendar and the Issaquah High school calendar, “Bellevue College with have their commencement ceremony on the 23 of June.” and “Seniors in the Class of 2023 from Issaquah High School, Liberty High School and Skyline High School will graduate in separate ceremonies at T-Mobile Park.” Come support our wonderful graduates as we watch them start the next journey in their life. Have a great summer Eagles!