Student Earning H.S. Diploma and College Degree at Same Time

Home-schooled Cannon Falls resident Kaitlin Bodette enrolled in Exercise and Sport Science program.

Kaitlin Bodette

Kaitlin Bodette

Kaiti Bodette, 17, will graduate from both high school and college in the spring of 2008 when she earns her associate of science degree in Exercise and sport science from Dakota County Technical College.

Home-schooled for much of her life, Bodette enrolled in the Post Secondary Enrollment Options program when she was in 11th grade. She saw the program as an ideal way to streamline her education.

“The PSEO program is a wonderful opportunity,” she said. “I’m getting an excellent education without having to pay for tuition, fees, or books. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Bodette made the transition from high school to college-level coursework without difficulty thanks in part to her own strengths and experience as a learner. She also credits her success to the faculty at DCTC.

“The teachers are great,” she said. “They are very understanding and always ready to help. The Exercise and Sport Science program is all about hands-on learning. Our teacher Sara Woodward really makes my classes worthwhile.”

The program’s instructor since its inception in 2002, Woodward has a master’s degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise physiology from the University of Minnesota. She is currently working on her doctorate in kinesiology with an emphasis in sport psychology.

“Kaiti is an excellent student who has integrated successfully with her older peers,” Woodward said. “She has a positive attitude and submits work that is equal if not better in quality than that of her classmates.”

A superb athlete, Bodette is a natural fit for the Exercise & Sport Science program. She made the varsity dance team at Cannon Falls High School as a seventh grader, earning “Rookie of the Year” honors in 2003. Known for her turns, she helped the Bombers become Class A High Kick State Champions in 2005 and 2006.

“You have to be in top shape as a dancer,” she said. “Flexibility, endurance, and strength are very important.”

Bodette also cheerleads for her high school football team while managing to find time for jobs at a catering business and as a stable hand on a local horse farm. She plans to continue her education and eventually work for a fitness center or, better yet, a cruise line.

“After graduation, my family and I are moving to Florida,” she said. “Once we’re settled, I’m going to study massage therapy. From there, I really want to land a job on a cruise ship as a fitness expert in an onboard spa and wellness facility.”

Understandably, Bodette is happy to be ahead of the game so early in life. “The college has been great,” she said. “For any kid who’s interested in doing PSEO, I recommend that they take it at DCTC.”

In 2006, more than 7,000 students from public, private, and home schools in Minnesota were enrolled in the PSEO program. Seven hundred of those students, or roughly 10 percent, received homeschooling.

Graduates of the Exercise and Sport Science program at DCTC are fully prepared to obtain national certification from a variety of fitness authorities, including the American Council on Exercise. Graduates find rewarding work as fitness experts, personal trainers, and group exercise instructors in a variety of settings, including health clubs, fitness centers, resorts, country clubs, rehabilitation centers, private homes, and wellness facilities on hospital grounds and university and corporate campuses.

According to, the demand for fitness trainers will skyrocket as retiring baby boomers seek to develop safe and effective wellness strategies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks fitness worker as one of the fastest-growing occupations in America, pointing to a projected 27 percent increase in employment through 2016.