Don’t ask Whitney Skabelund what she does in her free time.
She doesn’t have any idle time, at least until after graduation!
For the better part of the past two years, Skabelund has balanced a very busy schedule of colleges classes, two varsity high school sports, two jobs, church activities and a social life.
Skabelund intensified her education during her final two years of high school by participating in Western Nevada College’s Jump Start program in Fallon. The dual-credit academic program enabled Skabelund to earn an associate of science degree before receiving her high school diploma.
The 18-year-old will be one of 89 Jump Starts students from around Nevada who will graduate from WNC on Monday, May 22 in Carson City.
“I am so excited to be one of the 89 Jump Start students to graduate with an associate degree before I receive my high school diploma!” she said. “Associating with successful Jump Start students who have the same goals and values is a great inspiration to me. I will be honored to walk at graduation with so many high school students who have chosen to challenge themselves as I have.”
Through her classes at WNC’s Fallon campus Skabelund was able to confirm what she wants to study following graduation.
“I loved my biology class with professor Holly O’Toole, and this reinforced my desire to go into the science field,” Skabelund said. “I also enjoyed speaking and writing in my communications and English classes. These classes, coupled with my involvement in HOSA [Future Health Professionals] program and competitions, have led me to major in the field of Public Health Education. I aspire to be an educator/facilitator for an organization such as WIC or the American Heart Association, helping people to lead healthy lives.”
She thrived in WNC’s learning environment, utilizing the resources available to excel in her classes.
“The small class sizes at WNC allow for individualized instruction, and I was very grateful that my teachers were always available and willing to help me with concerns or struggles,” she said. “It has been a privilege to get to know my WNC teachers, and they have been great mentors.”
Skabelund’s excellence in the classroom — a 4.25 GPA during her first two years of high school and 4.0 GPA in two years of the Jump Start program — and athletic talent contributed to her earning academic and athletic (track and field) scholarships to Utah State University in Logan, Utah.
“I feel as if Jump Start has prepared me academically for a four-year university, but I’m sure I will be challenged in adjusting to living away from home, adapting to a heavier workload as I take upper-division classes and balancing schoolwork with my involvement on the track and field team,” Skabelund said.
Like she has in the classroom, Skabelund has thrived in athletics. She will compete in three events at the Nevada 3A state track and field meet a few days before graduating from WNC.
There was even time for Skabelund to work two jobs during her final year at WNC. She has been employed as an intern at City of Fallon Convention Center and as a clerk at WNC’s library. To better her community, Skabelund has served as a food service worker for Fallon Daily Bread, coached youths and organized and carried out community blood drives, coloring book collections, heart association awareness campaigns, food drives and city cleanups.
“I have often been described as a driven, competitive and well-rounded person,” Skabelund said. “Throughout my scholastic career I have worked hard to excel in all areas of my involvement: academics, athletics, employment, community service, etc. My parents have raised me with the mindset that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Achievement and perseverance are values that I strive to develop and utilize in my life.”
WNC’s graduation ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Monday at the Marv Teixeira Pavilion in Carson City. Nevada Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison will provide the commencement’s keynote speech.