HS senior thrives at ‘Berg

Shayla Thomas is a high school senior on a college campus, and she fits right in.

Shayla is one of about 53 high school students (eight full time and 45 part time) who are taking advantage of Ohio’s College Credit Plus program, enrolling in college coursework while still in high school.

Last semester – Shayla’s first on campus – she enrolled in four tough courses and made the dean’s list. “Grades are really important to me. I really worked for it, especially in Statistics,” she says.

This semester, the super-organized and self-motivated senior is taking courses in theatre, psychology and Spanish. Oh, and an additional online course through Bowling Green State University.

“I finished all of my Tiffin Columbian requirements and I was out of AP (Advanced Placement) classes,” Shayla explains. “It’s been awesome to come here and be able to take these classes I need and some that I’m interested in.”

The college environment has been a great fit for Shayla. She appreciates the fact that she’s treated like an adult. In fact, if she didn’t mention it, her ‘Berg peers probably wouldn’t even realize she’s technically still in high school.

“I like that we aren’t babied. We’re expected to do our work and we do. I like being with more mature people,” Shayla says. “Even though I don’t ‘go here,’ I still know so many people.”

That stems in large part from Shayla’s involvement in theatre. On her resume of 18 shows, she will add this semester a role in Heidelberg’s February production of “The Laramie Project.” Simultaneously, she’s rehearsing for productions at Tiffin Columbian and the Ritz Theatre for the Performing Arts, where she serves as vice president of the Teen Thespian Guild.

Her theatre courses at Heidelberg have been among her favorites. “Our professor (Stephen Svoboda) really makes the classes a lot of fun. We always leave class happy,” Shayla says. “Every time, I end up being inspired or learning something new. He’s gifted in drawing the best from people. He delivers criticism in a way that you feel like you did a good job but if you changed one little thing, you could be so much better.”

When she enters BGSU’s Honors College in August, she’ll have 84 semester hours and junior status. She’ll major in psychology and minor in theatre, with her sights set on BGSU’s doctoral program in Industrial-Organizational Psychology.

For now, she’s content to finish her last semester as a high school student on a college campus. Shayla will tell anyone that her ‘Berg experience has been awesome. Her mom, alumna Angela (Falter) Thomas, agrees.

“Shayla has loved her instructors, courses, fellow students and the entire campus experience,” Angela says. “It’s been wonderful to see her rewarded for her maturity and work ethic.”

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