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Feb 24
Valentine High School launches career academies


Health Science is one of two career academies that is now being offered at Valentine High School thanks to a partnership between VHS and Mid-Plains Community College.

Valentine High School and Mid-Plains Community College are joining forces to offer agriculture and health science career academies in the Heart City. It’s the first time for the venture.

“We want to give our students every opportunity to explore careers and work toward certifications that a business or school might take into account,” said Wayne Harris, VHS counselor. “This partnership is going to provide recognition for students who are already completing the requirements for the academies. It will also give them a line on a résumé that will hopefully open some doors for them.”

The Ag Academy is a blend of high school and college classes directed at ag-related careers. The classes are intended to prepare students for post-secondary education or entry into a profession.

Ag Academy participants are required to take an “Introduction to Agriculture, Science and Technology” course, which is an overview of agriculture and agribusiness.


An Ag Academy is now being offered at Valentine High School thanks to a partnership between VHS and Mid-Plains Community College. 

The importance of agriculture, research, development, basic plant science, animal science, food science technology, personal finance management and the analyzation of agricultural experience programs are explored.

Academy participants can then pick two more classes from a list that includes: Animal Biology, Companion Animal Care, Large Animal Care, Natural Resources/Wildlife Management, Plant Science, Agronomic Services, Power Machinery, Advanced Power Machinery, Metals and Welding and Advanced Metals and Welding.

At least one of those classes must be a capstone course, a course that is taken either for college credit or that results in national certification.

Students in the academy are also required to have 10-12 hours of experience in a workplace. That could be through a paid job, an internship or a job shadowing opportunity.

If a student goes through the program and decides not to pursue a career in agriculture, that student will still have gained a better understanding of agriculture and of what to expect in college-level courses.

Requirements are the same for students in the Health Science Career Academy with the exception of the classes they have to take.

Health Science students will study health careers and medical terminology. They can then choose two more classes such as: Human Physiology/Anatomy, Advanced Chemistry, Physics, Advanced Biology or Psychology.

Classes can be taken anytime throughout high school, and students receive a certificate upon successful completion.

“The benefit to Valentine students is that now there are a series of courses, or pathways, for them to look at,” said Lenny Hassel, MPCC area career pathways coordinator. “The academies also force them to go out and try at least a few things in the areas they are interested in.”

Agriculture and Health Science are just two of six career academies MPCC offers. The others are: business, education, information technology and engineering/STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Career academies are tailored to every high school. Those interested in starting one can contact Hassel at or (308) 535-3639 for more information.

Heather Johnson
Area Communications Specialist

Heather produces and distributes press releases for the college. She began work at MPCC in 2014. Prior to that, she spent five years as the news director/web manager for Eagle Radio in North Platte. From 2009-2014 she worked as a reporter/photographer for The North Platte Telegraph. Heather has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Chadron State College.

Brent L. Cobb
McCook Community College News Bureau Coordinator​​​