Jacob Komar, Christian Burns,’05, Paul Kelleher

A diverse mix of students with very different goals comprise the group of over 7,000 credit students who attend Tunxis each year, providing a mix of perspectives that enrich their individual academic experiences.

Among the varied backgrounds are students seeking to gain transfer credits, lifelong learners who want new job skills or personal enrichment, those making career changes, home-schooled students in need of supplemental instruction, and intellectually gifted youngsters who seek educational alternatives and a head start on college.

Part of this latter group, Jacob Komar, 11, of Burlington, found Tunxis offered just the challenge he needed. The gifted student liked the collegiate environment enough to take his SATs early, skip high school and instead enroll full-time at Tunxis in 2003 to pursue a degree that would enable him to transfer his credits as he continued
his studies.

“My classes at Tunxis are more challenging and focused on the essentials,” said Komar, an engineering science major, who didn’t find traditional classroom settings met his needs. “The pace was much better for me too,” with less repetition than he encountered learning with his peers. The higher level of work standards and instructors’ expectations even helped him improve in areas that aren’t his natural strengths.

“Programming Logic” was one of his favorite courses, which perhaps isn’t surprising considering he started tinkering with computers and writing programming code at age five. He also liked his Spanish
class, taught by William Jimenez, lecturer in Spanish. “There was a lot of emphasis on speaking the language in class,” said Komar, noting that it enhanced his learning experience to have an instructor like Jimenez who is teaching his native language and sharing cultural background.

“The nice thing is my Tunxis courses will transfer directly to UConn,” said Komar, where he eventually plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree there in engineering or computer engineering.  After that, he thinks he may want to pursue graduate work.

Komar shares his special talents through volunteer work, which has resulted in national media recognition and numerous awards, including Prudential Spirit of Community Award, Angel Soft Angels in Action award, and Kohl’s Kids Who Care Point of Light Award. His first project at age nine involved acquiring computers that were discarded from his sister’s school, restoring them, and donating them to families who couldn’t otherwise afford them.