Moving to a new school or campus can be hard. Moving to a college campus while still in high school can be even harder. Last month, the entire student body of CAST STEM moved to Palo Alto College. Although it was initially planned for upperclassmen to relocate in Spring 2024 and underclassmen in Fall 2024, CAST STEM announced late last year that all students would relocate in January 2024. Now February, I spoke with juniors Jon, Brianna, Rhianna and Eve to hear their thoughts now that everybody has settled in.
Although going to high school on a college campus can be intimidating, it does come with its perks. What was once online-only material can now be covered by PAC professors, and students can approach their instructors much easier now. Students also have access to the PAC food court and library, which, to Eve, is something she won’t take for granted. Brianna told me how she feels the students have more legroom on their new campus – they have more room to stretch and explore than their original campus.
There is also a level of freedom that comes with attending classes on a college campus. The juniors are grateful for their newfound freedom, yet they can’t help but think about the freshmen who are experiencing this for the first time. While Eve notes that some freshmen are taking their new campus more seriously than when they were at SWISD, Jon remarks that they have embraced their new freedom.
To potential students who feel on-the-fence about attending CAST STEM at its new location, the juniors provided some support and offered some insight. When I spoke with him, Jon told me, “We do have access to college classes, but our administrators will give you what you can handle.” Rhianna said something similar:
Even if you are scared, you will adapt to it.
Eve reiterated the sentiment:
You have lots of people to turn to – don’t be scared to make the leap.
About Southwest Independent School District
Southwest Independent School District is a distinguished, award-winning school district with numerous recognitions at the regional and state levels. SWISD prides itself in its family-friendly schools, positive and inclusive community culture, and wide range of college and career-ready programs. Southwest ISD serves 13,800 students and 1,900 employees and comprises 11 elementary schools, four middle schools, and three high schools with state-of-the-art athletic facilities and a brand-new aquatic center.
About the CAST Schools Network
The Centers for Applied Science & Technology (CAST) is a San Antonio-based network of tuition-free public schools with a mission to reinvent schooling in order to maximize opportunities for students while preparing them for college, career, and life. Open to all Bexar County students. The network includes high schools CAST Tech, CAST Teach, CAST STEM, CAST Med, CAST Lead, and the Advanced Learning Academy. Schools are co-created with industry and partner with area public school districts, including Northside, San Antonio, Southwest, and East Central ISDs. For more information, visit castschools.com. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About Palo Alto College
Palo Alto College, part of the Alamo Colleges District, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and a recipient of the 2015 Texas Award for Performance Excellence, a finalist for the 2016 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and a Rising Star winner of the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. With over 9,000 students, Palo Alto College is accredited to offer associate degrees and short-term certificates. The College is located on the southside of San Antonio at 1400 W. Villaret Blvd. at I-410 and Texas Hwy 16 and online at alamo.edu/pac.