Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Following Inlander story, SFCC decides to let 12-year-old take college course

Posted By on Wed, Jul 6, 2016 at 11:42 AM

click to enlarge Malika Halvorson could count to 20 in three languages by the time she was 18 months old. - YOUNG KWAK
Young Kwak
Malika Halvorson could count to 20 in three languages by the time she was 18 months old.

Malika Halvorson, 12, has had trouble finding the right school for her in Spokane. No private school, public school or program for gifted students has suited the prodigy, which has led her to try and take courses at Spokane Falls Community College. 

We wrote about Malika's story in last week's paper, and as of the publishing of the article, the college had thus far denied Malika's attempt to take any courses at SFCC. But after meeting with college administrators one more time, the 12-year-old has been allowed to take one SFCC college course, says Malika's mom, Melissa Halvorson. 

"She has her foot in the door," Melissa Halvorson says.

Melissa wouldn't give too much detail about the class, only that it is a five-credit course at SFCC. Depending on how Malika does, she may be able to take more college courses later on, Melissa says. 

The decision was in the hands of SFCC Vice President of Student Services Darren Pitcher. He initially was reluctant to let a 12-year-old in college, saying he would need to make sure the student had the maturity level to handle such courses. There were also safety issues to consider, since SFCC is an open-access campus. 

After meeting with Malika and Melissa last week, he became more open to the idea. He took a couple days to decide what to do before he told Malika she could take one course this summer as a trial, Melissa says. (Pitcher did not return calls seeking comment about his final decision). 

Malika's plan is to transfer to the Art Institute in Seattle when she's finished at SFCC. Then she wants to move to Japan, teach English and earn her master's degree by the time she's 21. Her dream is to one day produce comics and cartoons. 

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About The Author

Wilson Criscione

Wilson Criscione, born and raised in Spokane, is an Inlander staff writer covering education and social services in the Inland Northwest.