ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Lisette Orellana, Lynn Vocational Technical Institute graduate and North Shore Community College Class of 2018, was a student speaker.
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
LYNN — McKennsie Brunet, a high school freshman, celebrated the completion of her first two college courses Wednesday night.
More than 225 Lynn high school students earned college credits through the Early College Program at North Shore Community College this year. The Early College Program at NSCC allows qualified high school and home-schooled students to earn college credit while completing high school graduation requirements in a variety of ways.
Credits can be earned through dual enrollment in college courses offered at the high school, on the college campus, or online; by transferring approved course credits from high school course work to NSCC; by earning Advanced Placement credits from high school courses with a successful AP exam score; or by earning a qualifying score on a College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam.
Brunet, 15, was one of 12 freshmen to participate in the afternoons following her regular school day at Lynn Classical High School. She hopes to become a district music teacher and plays the clarinet, saxophone and piano.
“I’m planning on getting my first degree out of the way so I can go for my next degree,” she said.
“It took a lot of courage to get to this point,” said Dr. Catherine Latham, superintendent of Lynn Public Schools. “Just to sign up for a course took courage. And you did it. You have made all of us at Lynn Public Schools very proud. It validates what we do and what our teachers do.”
Dr. Patricia Gentile, president of NSCC, told the students they outperformed the school’s regular program students with 85 percent of enrolled students completing the program. About 79 percent of students who enroll in the regular college courses complete the classes, Gentile said. The average age of a regular student is 27 years old.
“These are college-level courses,” Gentile said. “They’re not watered down. By the time you graduate, you can have up to 30 credits to your name. That’s one full year of college; one full year of college free. It’s going to give you an edge that not every high school student gets.”
Applications for the Summer 2017 Early College program are due May 25. The semester runs from July 5 to Aug. 15.
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.