Welding grad Alex Novak completes college before high school
May 21, 2018
Alex Novak graduated from college before he even finished high school.
That’s right. The Elcho High School senior participated in Nicolet College graduation ceremonies on May 19, a week before his high school graduation.
“I have to say, it’s pretty exciting,” said Novak, who recently received his Welding technical diploma from Nicolet. “It’s pretty cool to graduate from both college and high school at just about the same time.”
Novak was a freshman in high school when he first set his sights on a welding career. “I took every welding class I could and really liked it,” he said. “I enjoy working with my hands and building things. You can build anything you want if you put your mind to it.”
He was able to pull off this current accomplishment by completing virtually all of his high school classes in his first three years. That left him with significant flexibility his senior year.
“I knew some older students who had taken Nicolet classes,” he said. “And the more I thought about it, the more the idea grew on me.”
Working with his high school guidance counselor and an academic advisor at Nicolet, Novak and team were able to put together all of the pieces necessary to make this unique feat a reality.
This past academic year he attended Nicolet labs and classes Monday through Thursday through the Youth Options program. On Fridays he worked on the final English class he needed to complete his high school graduation requirements.
At first, the thought of attending college while still in high school was a little intimidating. But that didn’t last long.
“The instructors make it a lot of fun,” said Novak, who’s now looking locally for a Welding job. “They definitely keep you on task, teaching you the skills you need to get a job, but they do it in a way that makes it fun. It’s a great program. They really know their stuff. If anyone was thinking of enrolling in the program, I would definitely recommend it.”
Novak had high praise for staff at both schools for working cooperatively with him to chart his path.
“There’s no way this would have been possible without them,” he said. “Everyone’s been a huge help and I’m grateful for that.”
He was recently hired as a welder by Lake Shore Systems in Rhinelander.
In the photo above, Novak, right, practices welding stainless steel with guidance from Nicolet Welding Instructor Jon Edwardson.