There’s a new Utah University of Technology learning center in Hildale to help high school students prepare for college.
Only seven years ago Opening of Water Canyon High School and public education began to return to the small community. In 2001, most students dropped out of the school after Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Requirement.
In its first year in 2015, there were only A degree at Water Canyon. This year, they have 47.
The new center is connected to the high school. Students can become certified practical nurses and take various ongoing registration courses. This is another step forward for the community, said Hildale Mayor Donia Jessop.
“All my life, we’ve always walked down the hill to go to school, to go to work, to get whatever we needed done,” she said during a ribbon cutting on Tuesday. “To be able to stay home and just have that accessible, I think that’s key…for the kids right here.”
Jessop added that it’s helpful to have such an affordable option for students because they can take college courses at a discount while living at home.
Water Canyon director Steve Showalter said the center will help provide more opportunities for the community, so people can improve it, rather than just moving elsewhere.
“We’re starting to be able to build community belief that education matters,” he said. “We are going to value education because it gives our children here choices. And what I want for every child here is to be able to choose what they want to do.
Utah Tech also has similar centers in southern Utah in Kanab and Hurricane. Nancy Hauck, vice president for community and global engagement at the university, said rural students in Washington County should have the same opportunities as students in urban areas.
“We’re so thrilled to see that they’ve gone from this insecure first-generation student, whose parents didn’t get a college degree, to ‘I’m smart, I can compare myself to other students,'” , said Hauck.
She said they hope to offer evening classes to other members of the community in the future.