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Maquoketa Valley High School student graduates early to start on pre-reqs for Nursing degree

Thursday, February 6, 2020

She plans to earn a Practical Nursing diploma from NICC next year, with the goal of continuing into the RN-to-BSN Dual Enrollment program that was established between NICC and Upper Iowa University.

jenna nefzger news imageMANCHESTER—Achieving academic and career success requires of high school students an openness to learning new things, and a knack for balancing demanding work and school commitments. One local student, Jenna Nefzger, is just as determined and sees her hard work paying off.

Nefzger graduated early from Maquoketa Valley High School in January and is currently finishing all the prerequisites for the Nursing program at Northeast Iowa Community College. She plans to earn a Practical Nursing diploma from NICC next year, with the goal of continuing into the RN-to-BSN Dual Enrollment program that was established between NICC and Upper Iowa University. She participated in Career Learning Link through the College to focus her career goals. A Greater Delaware County Community Foundation Scholarship and Dollars for Scholars funding are also supporting her education.

“I wanted to graduate from Maquoketa Valley early because I would be able to finish my prerequisites at Northeast Iowa Community College for the Nursing program faster. If I stayed in high school through May, I would have had a gap semester between Anatomy & Physiology I and II. The Nursing program at NICC is intense. Because it’s much harder to get into, I try even harder in my classes and learn more,” Nefzger said.

Determined and persistent students with clear academic and career goals tend to perform better in college, explained Holly Maurer, Manchester Center director.

“Jenna really worked hard to identify with me the courses at NICC that would allow her to complete Nursing prerequisites even faster. She’s planning a healthcare career pathway to earn an Associate Degree of Nursing and then a Bachelor of Science in Nursing through Upper Iowa University. Jenna also gained useful insights by participating in Career Learning Link. Job shadowing, business tours and mentoring opportunities through the program teach students what a particular career is really like,” said Maurer.

The success of high school students in Delaware County is furthered by the good relationship established between Northeast Iowa Community College, high schools, the Manchester Center and businesses, added Wendy Mihm-Herold, Ph.D., NICC vice president of business and community solutions.  

“We work together and share the skillsets and knowledge high school graduates need to have, to be successful in their careers and make an impact on businesses in Delaware County. Business leaders are especially critical to our efforts because these companies are local and passionate about investing our area’s future workforce,” said Mihm-Herold.

The Manchester Center is an invaluable resource for students as they enroll in college credit courses and explore potential careers. Formed in collaboration between the City of Manchester, Northeast Iowa Community College and Upper Iowa University, the focus of the Manchester Center is to make quality education accessible to the greater Manchester area. This is accomplished by helping students achieve their educational goals and working with local businesses to retain and grow their workforce. The Manchester facility offers a Health Lab, as well as a classroom for business and professional development trainings.

Concurrent enrollment agreements between the College and high schools in northeast Iowa support students’ future academic and career goals. From 2018-2019, the Manchester Center served 337 high school students who enrolled in 2,011 college credits.

For more information on services offered through the Manchester Center, visit or contact Maurer, center director, at (844) 642-2338, ext. 7101.