Naree Asherian, 17, was recognized in February as a Nevada System of Higher Education Regents’ Scholar. She said she owes the recognition to the College of Southern Nevada High School program at the Charleston campus in southwest Las Vegas, which she has been a part of for two years.
“Honestly, I didn’t think it was going to happen,” Naree said. “Without CSN High School, I wouldn’t have a chance at the Regents’ Scholar. I want to bring awareness to this program and show people that it exists and it is worth your time.”
Naree is set to graduate in May with a high school diploma and an Associate of Business degree from CSN. Under the program, she has taken high school classes required by the Clark County School District, with the district paying for 12 CSN credits. CSN High School students take their high school and college classes on one of the three CSN campuses.
Students are able to purchase more CSN credits to obtain their associate’s degrees after two years, but Naree said only a handful of students typically do. Naree’s family paid for the extra credits, receiving a discount on them during a summer semester because Naree’s mother works at the college.
Naree’s mother, Vartouhi, is a senior analyst in the office of E-Learning at CSN, and the two had known about the program before Naree applied.
Vartouhi encouraged her daughter and more students to apply for CSN high school because “not every kid fits into the one-size-fits-all model.”
“We need to offer those kids something,” Vartouhi said. “CSN High School fills that gap.”
Vartouhi said the public school Naree attended didn’t give her “the excitement of success at the end of the day.” CSN High School does.
“She thought, ‘I may be young, but I can be a college student; I am mature enough to be on time,” Vartouhi said. “Maturity is key.”
Colleen Greenburg, high school counselor at the Charleston campus, said her daughter graduated from the high school in 2011 and found that the school “prepared her for life at a university because of the university setting.”
“They learn how to navigate a college campus, navigate instructors and pick college classes,” Greenburg said.
Greenburg said CSN High School also has a prom, graduation and mixers, as well as assemblies every month.
Next stop: Armenia
In her time at CSN, Naree has maintained a 3.8 grade-point average. She plans to transfer to UNLV to get her bachelor’s degree in business within two years.
After graduating, Naree’s plan is to move to her native Armenia permanently to start a dance shoe company and perform as an actor.
Naree has been cast in local plays, singing and acting, and is the ambassador for a nonprofit, Positively Arts. The organization provides performing arts opportunities for students who may need financial assistance and lack the ability to access the arts. Positively Arts pairs students with professional artists who act as mentors.
Naree said the organization helped one student with free or reduced-fee vocal lessons.
Naree was just cast as Katherine in a play called “Newsies, The Broadway Musical.” It will be performed at Summerlin Library through April 27.
Naree has also participated in cabarets on the Strip.
Naree said Armenia, which borders Turkey to the east, is known for making quality shoes. She said the most popular Broadway dance shoe costs about $250; she wants to make a less-expensive alternative.
“If I can create something that has to do with the fine arts, that uses my degree, that I would be in charge of and still be able to act professionally, that is the dream,” Naree said.
About Regents’ Scholar awards
They are distributed to an undergraduate student from each Nevada university and community college, as well as Nevada State College, and one graduate student at each public university in Nevada.
As a Nevada System of Higher Education Regents’ Scholar, Naree Asherian received a $5,000 cash stipend. She said the money will fund her tuition at UNLV when she attends this fall.
About CSN High School
It has existed for about 20 years, said Colleen Greenburg, high school counselor at the College of Southern Nevada Charleston campus.
Sixty credits are required to graduate with an associate’s degree. Tuition and fees for a full-time student, 13 credits a semester, are $2,997 for Nevada residents and $9,910 for out-of-state residents. The Clark County School District pays for 12 credits for CSN High School students each semester — a total of 48 credits at the end of two years. Students are required to pay out of pocket and often take summer classes to take the additional credits required to graduate with as associate’s degree at the same time as their high school graduation.
Among the three CSN campuses, Greenburg estimates, about 480 students are enrolled in CSN High School.
Vartouhi Asherian said CSN High School has a rigorous application process. Her daughter Naree remembers writing two essays and asking for multiple teacher recommendations. Greenburg said the high school also looks at the classes applicants have taken — whether they are honors or Advanced Placement classes — and the students’ attendance records.
Greenburg said the acceptance rate changes, as some years there are 200 applicants and others there are 400.
To view application information, visit csnhighschool.wixsite.com/csnhs/apply.