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Olympic student eyes future local courses

POULSBO — Linda Larson laughs when you ask her what she wants to do after graduation.

“I’ve done a million things in my life and none of them were connected. So who knows,” she explained with the knowing grin of someone who understands a career is more than a job title.

But the North Kitsap resident knows one thing — that the approaching Olympic College branch campus in Poulsbo will be a welcome sight. Living near Indianola, Larson has had a 40-minute drive to the main Olympic College branch in Bremerton over the last two years while studying part time in a integrated multi-media program. Even so, she said the college has allowed her wonderful avenues for self betterment and job training.

“I love Olympic College. It’s just a great community,” she said.

However, recently Larson said she’s gotten a taste of what having a college closer to home will be like. Last year, she took an evening English 101 class at North Kitsap High School, offered through the college’s branch program. She also took a technical writing course that was offered on Subase Bangor.

That class, and several like it, have been offered recently in the Poulsbo area as a precursor to future branch campus location in the Olhava development.

College supporters will hold an official groundbreaking next week and plan to have the new educational center built and serving students in 2004. Even though Larson has just over two quarters left until attaining her degree, she sees the campus’ approach as a positive thing for both people like her and for future students like her daughters Ramona, 10, and Marina, 14.

“I will definitely benefit directly in that I can take classes right here and maybe my kids can eventually take running start,” Larson noted.

As a full-time mom and a night shift server at the Harbor Public House on Bainbridge Island, Larson said college life has been a challenge for her, but one she’s relished.

A believer in life-long learning, Larson said she sees community colleges like Olympic not only as a means to an end, but as the vehicle for life experiences she thinks she’ll repeat many times.

“The one thing I like about community college is your class is all mixed up, all ages, all walks of life. At the base you get the military influence and at the high school you get the high school influence and that’s what I like, all of those people learning together,” she explained.

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