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RCHS grads head to college close to home
In Aug. 13 Issue
By Derek Aaron
Times Journal Reporter

Russell County is well represented at colleges and universities within the state, according to enrollment figures provided by the schools.

Somerset Community College appears to have the most Russell County residents enrolled in classes with the second most belonging to Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia while the third most local students enrolled goes to Western Kentucky University.

"I have no way of knowing, at this point, how many Russell County students have registered for the 2009 Fall semester," said David Cazalet, SCC's public relations director. "I do know that at this point our registration is up for the entire college by about 900 so far."

Cazalet said that for the Fall semester of 2008-09, the total enrollment from Russell County was 329 students.

"That would be about 5 percent of the total enrollment at SCC," he said.

He said last year at the end of registration, Somerset's entire student population was 7,213.

"If the trend continues we should surpass 8,000 for the first time ever," he said. "The final registration numbers will not be available until later this year."

When asked how important this county was to the community college Cazalet had this to say.

"Well, perhaps the best answer is that the SCC Foundation recently purchased the old Russell Springs Elementary School (the Charlene Harris Learning Center) for $500,000," he said. "I would say that that is a very strong endorsement of our commitment to higher education in Russell County."

In May 2008, 47 local students received degrees, certificates or diplomas from SCC, according to Cazalet.

"That was about 8 percent of the total students graduating," he said. "In May 2009, 37 Russell County students received degrees, certificates or diplomas. That represented 6 percent of the total of 611."

He said those 37 students received 91 degrees, diplomas or certificates out of a total of 1,186 awarded, or 8 percent.

Cazalet also pointed out that former Jamestown Elementary School Principal Winfrey Bates, is the Director of the Russell Center of Somerset Community College, one of four satellite centers the college maintains.

"Russell County leaders have always had a strong desire to provide convenient, quality higher education to the people of the county," said Dr. Jo Marshall, President and CEO of SCC. "They believe, as we do, that the good paying jobs of the future will require everyone to have some higher education. Throughout the region, SCC is providing the opportunity to improve the economy by training the workforce for the jobs of the future."

At Lindsey Wilson College there are currently 126 Russell County residents enrolled, according to  Public Information Officer Duane Bonifer. That's the same number who were enrolled last school year.

"With another week of enrollment, however, it's possible that number will increase," he said.

Bonifer said, historically, Russell County is very important to Lindsey Wilson College.

"It's almost always one of the top five Kentucky counties represented in the college's overall enrollment," he said. "That's probably a reflection of the college's history - one of Lindsey Wilson's early benefactors was a Russell County resident; the college has several hundred alumni in Russell County; several Lindsey Wilson trustees have come from Russell County; and several current Lindsey Wilson faculty and staff are Russell County residents."

Lindsey Wilson has also enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the Russell County school system over the years. "It's been a great partnership," he said.

In Bowling Green at Western Kentucky University, the numbers for 2009 had not been finalized yet, according to Shelley Hamlet with the school's academic affairs office.

But for the Fall 2008 semester, Russell County had nine first-year students enrolled with a total Russell County enrollment of 116. Those numbers have stayed steady for the past five years ranging from 96 total local students at WKU all the way to 119 students, according to WKU statistics.

At Campbellsville University, Admissions Counselor Paula Caldwell said Russell County was extremely important to the school.

"Since we are two counties away, students don't have to go too far from home to feel like they are getting the college experience," she said.

Caldwell said at the same time, students are receiving a quality education in a Christian environment.

She said Russell County High has also been very important to the school's Dual Credit program, which jump starts juniors and seniors on their college education.

"As of right now, we are expecting around 10 2009 Russell County graduates to attend CU this fall, which is up 150 percent from last year," she said. "We are really excited about the increase and look forward to seeing more and more Russell County students flock to Campbellsville in the future."

"The numbers should be consistent (in 2009) as Russell County looks to be constant across the board," she said while looking back at the five years of previous data.

At the University of Kentucky in Lexington, official enrollment numbers for this fall will not be available until next month, according to Amy Jones in the university's public relations office.

She did say, though, last year UK had three first-time freshmen, 29 other undergraduates, seven graduate students and eight professional students enrolled at the university.

At the University of Louisville, 18 students from Russell County were enrolled in the fall of 2008 and 17 students are already enrolled for 2009, according to John Drees in the university's admissions office.

"This year's enrollment figures are not final, of course," he added.

Eastern Kentucky University did not submit any enrollment figures but has Russell County students enrolled.
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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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Russell Springs KY 42642
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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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