Scholar House helps parents of young children through college


Johnette Worak
Photojournalist - Jason Thomason
Web Editor - Ryan Burkett

PADUCAH, Ky. - It's a busy time that requires lots of planning, from buying books and supplies to learning schedules and new routines.

But for some non-traditional students, it also means finding daycare and worrying about how to pay the bills once you're off to school.

Hannah Klope is a very mature 23-year-old. She's a single mom who works, has two kids under the age of six and will soon return to WKCTC in Paducah for the fall semester. She's studying to become a registered nurse.

"They need nurses everyday," Klope said. "So I'm going into a good field and I'll have a job available when I graduate."

Hannah is getting help from a unique program called Scholar House. It provides her with a low-cost place to live while she's in school.

"I was just not financially able to live on my own and go to school full-time and raise two kids," Klope said.

Hannah's Scholar House apartment is brand new. They were build last year for students and their children. Rent is based on income.

A huge plus is that the unit has a washer and dryer. That's big for students as they don't have to go to the laundromat.

Another big piece of the puzzle: Hannah needs someone to watch her two boys while she's in class. The Paducah Day Nursery, which is near the college, provides that care, and she doesn't even need a car.

"Affordable, reliable transportation is a luxury we take for granted," said Debbie Toon of the Scholar House. "Lots of residents don't have that. We're in such close proximity to campus, in many cases I see men and women walking to daycare with their backpacks."

We teach, we play, go over skills needed for school," said Ronnie Vincenti of Paducah Day Nursery. "Letters, shapes, numbers, colors and addresses and we're feeding them four times a day."

Paducah's Scholar House is the sixth such place in Kentucky. To qualify, you must be a full-time student with young children and you must maintain a 2.5 or higher grade point average. It's managed by both the Kentucky and Paducah housing authorities.