Reynolds Student Soars with MHCC Middle College Program

Posted: September 4, 2012

Carina GuzmanAfter two years at Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC), Carina Guzman, 19, will enter her junior year of college in the fall.

Younger than most students in her classes, Guzman’s persistence in education is obvious through her accomplishments. She completed her work at MHCC last spring with both her Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Degree (AAOT) and high school diploma through the Middle College program at MHCC.

 “I even surprised myself!” she says of her accomplishments. “If I didn’t have the opportunity from MHCC and the support of my family, I would not be where I am today.”

Guzman and her mother arrived in the United States from Colombia only three years ago. Already familiar with the English language, she excelled in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at Reynolds High School. Eventually she was moved to mainstream classes and was offered the opportunity to apply for the Middle College program at MHCC.

Dual Credit
“I chose to go to MHCC because I was ready to challenge myself in school. The Middle College program did this and opened up more opportunities for me academically. I felt like I was learning more and pushing myself to do my best,” says Guzman. Receiving dual credit through the program was also a major deciding factor, allowing her to complete two years of college before she turned 18.

The Middle College allows select students from Reynolds High School to attend MHCC classes full-time to complete their high school diploma. In many cases students can receive dual credit toward an associate degree. All direct expenses, such as tuition, books and fees, are paid by the program.

For Guzman, the Middle College program was a way to create opportunity for herself. “I not only grew in my academics but also as a person. I grew as a human being. I learned a lot about myself,” she says.

Besides her involvement at MHCC, Guzman dances ballet and volunteers with her church. In the summer of 2011 she visited New Orleans on a mission to help build homes for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. She has also been involved in soup kitchens and food pantries, as well as Hands on Greater Portland, a nonprofit organization focused on offering a variety of ways for volunteers to help their community.

Best Decision She Ever Made
“Carina is one of the most high-achieving students I’ve met with the Middle College program,” says Sydney Eustrom, manager of Student Outreach and High School Services.

Guzman plans to attend Portland State University in the fall and pursue a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning, possibly with a double major in International Studies. She says of the program at MHCC, “The Middle College program at MHCC is an amazing opportunity and the best decision I have made.”

For more information, please visit

By Teresa Lane 

© 2014 Mt. Hood Community College | 26000 SE Stark St. | Gresham, OR 97030 | 503-491-6422
 Last Modified: 10/8/2012 03:01:32 PM