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St. John’s Catholic Prep Senior/Freshman Stays a Mountie

Katherine Stohlman, C'19

Rebekkah Vandegrift, a graduate of St. John’s Catholic Preparatory School (SJCP) in Frederick, Maryland, will be starting as a sophomore at the Mount this fall. She already completed her freshman year through the Mount’s agreement with SJCP whereby high school seniors participate in a full-time, dual-enrollment program.

Vandegrift, a Maryland native, enrolled as a dual high school senior and college freshman in the fall of 2021, commuting from Montgomery County to take classes at the Emmitsburg campus. “I chose to do dual enrollment my senior year because I felt ready for a new challenge,” she explained, adding that the Mount dual enrollment plan gave her the opportunity to challenge herself while being able to get college credits.

As a senior/freshman, Vandegrift took courses that fulfilled requirements for both a high school senior and a college freshman.  She enrolled in courses such as first-year symposium, statistics, and foundations of psychology. Elizabeth Monahan, Mount professor and director of the Center for Catholic School Excellence, served as Vandegrift’s mentor. Monahan was impressed by Vandergrift’s dedication and success in the program. “Rebekkah demonstrated academic excellence throughout her senior/freshman experience and earned a spot on the Dean’s List. We look forward to welcoming Rebekkah back to the Mount!” Monahan said.

Vandegrift will continue as a commuter, entering as a second-year student despite just having graduated high school this spring. She cited scholarship opportunities and an accessible approach to education as major factors in her decision to stay at the Mount, noting that “my classes felt like a more open learning space where plenty of discussions went on, where I could ask questions and respond more comfortably.” She plans to pursue a nursing career. Her sister, Elizabeth, also plans to transfer to the Mount from her local community college.

rebekkah-vandegrift-in-text.jpgVandegrift is the first SJCP student participating in the full-time senior/freshman program to continue as a Mount student after finishing high school, but certainly not the first student to take advantage of this partnership program. The dual enrollment program was initiated by President Timothy Trainor, Ph.D., and President Emeritus Thomas Powell, Ph.D., who served as the president of SJCP from 2015 to 2021. The part-time dual enrollment program began in 2017, where highly able seniors took courses taught by Mount faculty at the Frederick campus, and since that time the Mount has had 228 enrollments from SJCP in that program.  The full-time senior/freshman program in which Vandegrift participated, was established in 2019 and 23 students have enrolled in over 230 courses taught at the Emmitsburg campus. The program continues to grow, and this fall the Mount expects to welcome 2 new SCJP senior/freshman to the Emmitsburg campus and 29 part-time dual enrollment students to the Frederick campus.

Interested SJCP seniors are selected based on academic merit and can choose to participate in either program. Those who select the senior/freshman program typically take a course sjcp-students-202122-2-in-text.jpgload of 12-15 credits, while still participating in their extracurricular activities at SJCP. They can save time and money by completing their first year of college before high school graduation, while also experiencing a university environment. The Mount has an existing guaranteed admissions agreement with SJCP, including a provision for renewable four-year scholarships for those graduates who attend the Mount.

The Mount and SJCP, both located in Frederick County, are institutions of learning that seek to instill Catholic values, provide an excellent education, and serve their students. Learn more about the Senior/Freshman Initiative.

Katherine Stohlman, C'19