Brown County's Pyper Wettstein Blazing a Trail to Start College Early

Pyper WettsteinBrown County High School Senior Pyper Wettsein juggles cheerleading, yearbook, mentoring and college courses simultaneously, always looking ahead to take on the next challenge.  

 So when she realized this fall that she could graduate early in December and start college, it didn’t take her long to move into the fast lane.

 “I thought, why not expand my opportunities now?”  Wettstein said.

 Throughout her high school career, Wettstein completed 15 college credits at John Wood Community College’s Mt. Sterling Education Center, which opened her eyes to different perspectives, people, and the expectations that come with college-level work.

 “I noticed very quickly that professors care a lot about students, but expect you to motivate yourself, manage your time and keep track of assignments without reminders,” she said.  “I really enjoy the freedom, responsibility and flexibility of learning in new situations.  I was in a class in Mt. Sterling taught by a professor in Pittsfield using Zoom technology, took an online course and worked with older students in the classroom who helped me see things in new ways and treated me as an equal.”

 Although Wettstein could clearly see the path ahead and it’s many benefits, her classmates were puzzled by the choice at first.

 “They were like, are you sure?” she shared.  “They asked about missing prom and the senior trip and all of the other things that come with the last part of our senior year.”

 Wettstein had bigger milestones in mind, like shortening the amount of time to earn a college degree, saving money and charting her course for a future career as a writer.

 “I want to find out what is best for me, not just do the same thing as everyone else.  I also realized the exponential amount of money I’ll save. It’s basically a year’s worth of tuition.”

 Watching Weinstein find her path is starting to draw the interest of younger students in Brown County, who are now thinking about following her lead.

 “Some of my friends who are juniors are very interested and are expressing more of an interest and asking me what it is like and how it all could work for them,” Wettstein shared.

 “I tell them that you never know unless you ask questions and get a lot of different perspectives, so you can decide what direction is best for you.”

 It only seems fitting that Wettstein will begin as a full-time student pursuing an English degree this January at JWCC, home of the Trail Blazers. 

 On average JWCC enrolls 30 students each spring who graduate high school early. An online winter intersession begins Dec. 18 and spring semester sessions begin January 16, February 12 and March 19.  More information is available by contacting JWCC admissions at or 217.641.4314.


John Wood Community College is the educational link between business and community. JWCC collaboratively creates innovative and relevant academic and training programs with business leaders to educate young people and the workforce for today’s needs and tomorrow’s opportunities. JWCC has centers in Quincy, Pittsfield, Baylis and Mt. Sterling, Illinois. Programs include a comprehensive baccalaureate transfer curriculum, customized business training, career/technical degrees and certificates and personal enrichment courses.

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