WAXAHACHIE — As the school bell rings to end another semester, the Waxahachie and Midlothian Navarro College campuses are gearing up for a full slate of 2017 summer courses.

“I want to encourage our students to go to summer school and take advantage of what we’re offering,” expressed Dr. Kenneth Martin, President of Navarro College's Ellis County campuses. “We’re offering quality, transferable courses here and we have programs online, technical, and courses where students can take them for 12 hours over the whole summer."

With classes ranging from the arts to business, healthcare and workforce, Navarro’s first summer semester begins Monday, June 5 with late registration.

“I’ve seen a number of our students come from Tarleton, Texas A&M, and the University of Texas, so if you can take those courses and get them out of the way - those are courses you don’t have to take when you go back,” Martin explained. “If you’re planning on going to a four-year school and you’re planning on taking your core subjects – English, history, math, science, things like that – why not get some of those courses out of the way so you can start out at your sophomore year?”

For those who miss the Monday late registration, Navarro offers a second summer semester, opening enrollment on July 11.

“Summer two starts on July 11, so they can come in throughout summer one and can sign up for summer two classes to get a couple of classes out of the way in summer two,” added Terry Gibson, Navarro College Dean of Academic Services.

The accredited, two-year community college offers an opportunity for traditional and non-traditional students to continue their education on the Midlothian and Waxahachie campuses.

“Nontraditional students are not your typical 18 to 21-year-old college student, they’re usually 26 and older,” articulated Kristin Walker, Navarro College Dean of Student Services for Ellis County. “We have a lot of working adults that will come in and take a class, or students that will go to a four-year college come back to us during the summer to get ahead.”

Whether finishing a bachelor’s degree, completing dual credit through high school, acquiring a work skill certification, or just exploring an academic career, Navarro offers small, hands-on classes that encourage individual achievement.

“There are two group of students who want to get their basics done so they can transfer to a four-year school," explained Darla Littrel, Navarro College Dean of Workforce and Continuing Education. "And then you have a huge group of students who want a skill of some sort to get a good job.”

“There’s a common misconception that these certificates are second-class because it’s not a four-year degree. It’s quite the opposite," she added. "The state invests a lot of money in the career and technical programs, and it takes all of us to make the world go round. We have to have firemen, first responders, plumbers, electricians, as well as the people that go the traditional route.”

Also accommodating students in the military or with disabilities, the school offers services dedicated to students from any walk of life.

“We’re preparing students for success through our orientation program,” Walker explained of the state awarded program. “If a student needs help in anything from Veterans Affairs to addiction, eating disorders, or how to manage life, which is what college is all about along with academics, we offer services for that.”

“We will continue to see more students with Autism, and so that continues to be a service that is also emphasized and provided on campus,” she added.

Navarro also offers Learning Commons, a free tutoring service, and an Adult Literacy Program for undergraduates wanting to extend their education beyond their GED.

“We offer ‘Learning Commons’ where students can get some additional academic support, like tutoring and things like that. So it’s a great opportunity for them when they go to a four-year school, there’s not so much to take,” Gibson affirmed.

“One of the things we also do here is we partner with the Adult Literacy Program," Littrel noted. "So anybody, even if they just have their GED, if they come through the Adult Literacy Program and test, they can enter into any part of the program.”

For students who may be on a tight schedule, Navarro provides six-week and 12-week versions of some classes to help speed up the education process.

“The six-week courses are a lot of work, but a great way to get things done,” Gibson acknowledged.

Not only limited to Waxahachie, but the sister-school in Midlothian also offers all of the college core classes on its campus.

“One can come to the Midlothian campus or any Navarro College for a two-year degree program, and they can articulate and take classes for their bachelor's and even a few select master’s degrees, and that’s a treasure,” conveyed Dr. Alex Kajstura, Vice President of Ellis County Campuses - Midlothian. “The Midlothian campus has been growing a lot. As a matter of fact, we have the capacity to offer complete degrees, like computer aid, not only through day courses but night courses as well, so we’re growing."

“A lot of the time when people think about community college they don’t realize the quality of the faculty,” Gibson added on. “Every single one of our instructors who has taught, are either from very prestigious intuitions or have great academic pedigrees.”

“We provide a very high-quality education in both Midlothian and Waxahachie communities which saves on tuition costs, and both are great places to be,” she complimented.

As for the hanging question in most students’ mind, Mellie Sibley, Navarro College Business Manager of Ellis County - Waxahachie, assures students that college is possible with Navarro’s reasonable tuition costs.

“We not only have a strong faculty, but we pride ourselves on customer service that the whole staff has. We’ve revamped our Midlothian campus to be a one-stop shop where students can get all of their needs met there,” Sibley explained. “So we try to give a well-rounded welcome to our students that are interested in education, and a part of that is providing financial aid.”

“We’re very affordable. For students paying out of pocket, we offer payment plans year-round,” Sibley explained. “We don’t have late registration fees, so any student that comes in here on Monday can register for the same cost that the early registration students paid – they may not get that many choices in classes that are available, but hopefully we can get them with what they need."

Martin encourages potential students to register for classes, no matter their academic history.

“Working with our staff, they’re really dedicated, and I’m not just saying that. They want to help students and are sincere about it,” Martin nodded. “Education makes a difference, and I want to encourage our Ellis County students that we serve traditional and non-traditional students and we welcome them to either campus this summer."

Navarro’s semester one late registration ends Monday, June 5 with classes beginning the same day. Semester two enrollments open July 11. To connect with Navarro College — Waxahachie, visit navarrocollege.edu/Waxahachie or call (972) 923-6400. To contact the Midlothian campus, visit navarrocollege.edu/Midlothian or call (972) 775-7200.

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Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer

(469)-517-1450