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Bryan Collegiate High School senior overcomes dyslexia to achieve early collegiate success

Blinn, Bryan ISD partnership places students on the fast track to a college degree

January 25, 2017

Zach JonesReading books, composing essays and making oral presentations – critical skills in a college environment – didn’t always come easy for Zach Jones.

Diagnosed with dyslexia at an early age, Jones worked with a tutor to acquire the skills he uses in balancing four Blinn College courses and one high school class as a senior at Bryan Collegiate High School.

“It’s a challenge to take college courses with dyslexia,” Jones said. “Every time I’m reading a book or writing an essay, I have to use those skills to overcome that. It forced me early on to learn good study habits and time management, and it has better prepared me for when difficult problems arise.”

Jones is in his last semester at Bryan Collegiate, a unique partnership between Blinn and Bryan ISD that places students on the fast-track to a college degree. Through a curriculum that includes dual credit throughout all four years of their high school experience, graduates leave with 40-60 college credit hours they can transfer to a four-year degree.

Blinn instructors travel to the Bryan Collegiate campus to teach courses to freshmen and sophomores, while juniors and seniors take their courses on Blinn’s Bryan campus. Seniors take just one class at Bryan Collegiate while the remainder of their schedule consists of Blinn coursework.

Bryan Collegiate offers unique resources such as ACT and SAT preparation, college application and essay development classes and one-on-one instruction from faculty members to better prepare each student for higher education. The additional support is meant to complement Blinn’s rigorous coursework, Jones said.

“A typical high school student going directly into a full load of college courses after graduation may not know how to handle the new environment,” he said. “Bryan Collegiate has really taught me the skills I need to excel at a four-year institution and beyond.”

Blinn Chemistry Professor Carl Aronson, who taught Jones in two separate chemistry courses, said the high school senior excelled among his peers despite being one of the youngest in the classroom.

“Zach proved to be an academically motivated, mature, honest, and self-starting undergraduate science student,” Aronson said. “He easily is in the top 5 percent among all of the undergraduate students that I have had in my 17 years as a full-time college chemistry professor.”

Beyond the required coursework, Jones contributed to a research project alongside Aronson that will be presented at the American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition in San Francisco in April. He also earned his Eagle Scout rank by constructing a gazebo at the Crestview Retirement Community adjacent to the Blinn-Bryan Campus.

Jones will attend Texas A&M University in the fall, where he will study nuclear engineering. His goal is to become a medical professional in the field of radiation dosimetry.

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