ashlee vadalaAshlee Vadala Hits a Home Run in Education

Ashlee Vadala wanted to enroll in Running Start since her freshman year in high school. “I had always been intrigued by the idea of going to college,” she said. “I already knew I wanted to do it.”

Not only did the W.F. West High School student want to attend college, she wanted to complete her nursing prerequisites before graduating high school. “I have always been a very motivated student,” she said.

When her junior year finally arrived, Vadala thrived in the collegiate environment. She especially enjoyed anatomy and physiology, Lori Speer’s Nursing Assistant Certified course, and Jeff McQuarrie’s public speaking class. “Public speaking made me more comfortable as a Running Start student,” she said. “And Dr. Norton and (anatomy and physiology) will always be my favorite classes. He was always more than willing to help you out. As long as you were willing to put the effort into his classes, he’d do anything he could to help you succeed.”

Vadala also successfully paired college courses with playing high school fast pitch. “It was not an easy task, especially when I started my senior year of Running Start,” she said. “I was signed up for my harder classes I needed for the nursing program, like anatomy and physiology and microbiology, but I just knew that I needed to stay on top of my school work. I would go to my classes in the morning and be sure to do my reading and have the majority of my homework done before practice that afternoon. The key to my success in balance was definitely staying ahead and not procrastinating.”

Vadala earned her high school diploma in 2018 and was recently accepted into Centralia College’s nursing program. “I am so excited for what’s to come,” she said. “After finishing the program and getting my RN, I am hoping to pursue my bachelor’s degree.”

She’s well suited for the nursing field and will make an excellent addition after completing the program in 2021. “I selected this field because I have always had a passion for helping people,” she said. “My mom is also an RN and seeing her do this and love what she does encouraged me to follow my dream in that direction, as well.”

For those considering enrolling in Running Start, Vadala said, “DO IT! It is so worth it and I feel like I did not miss out on one single thing of being at the high school all day long. Anything I thought I might ‘miss out on’ I still got to do; any assembly or anything I wanted to go to I still had the option to do.”

Vadala said the key to her success was learning to be proactive instead of procrastinating. “As long as you are on top of your school work, there’s no reason why you won’t love this program,” she said.

Her biggest piece of advice? “Communicate with your instructors, no matter if you think it’s a ‘dumb question’ or not.”

Thanks to Running Start, Vadala got two years of college completed while she was still in high school. She said “Running Start taught me how to hold myself accountable and find the motivation within myself to achieve my goals.”