PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Lynn English student Joao DaSilva salutes the NSCC flag.
By THOR JOURGENSEN
LYNN — English High School junior Delaney Kerrins wants to teach preschool and North Shore Community College is giving her a jump on achieving her goal.
Kerrins and 60 Lynn high school students toured North Shore’s Lynn campus on Tuesday to learn about resources available to students and find their way around the college’s hallways and academic departments.
They also received encouraging words from school employees, including adjunct faculty member Gerard Sullivan, who said he enrolled in North Shore in 1994 at the age of 42. He discovered undiagnosed dyslexia had kept him from mastering and enjoying reading.
“I got great support from here,” he said.
North Shore and the Lynn Public Schools are giving students like Kerrins an academic leg up by partnering with CommUniverCity. The program allows high school students to take classes on the Lynn campus and earn a free year’s worth of college credits before they graduate high school.
CommUniverCity lets high school students take evening and Saturday classes on the Broad Street campus.
Kerrins said CommUniverCity is a quick path through college to teaching. English junior Joao DaSilva wants to study at North Shore for two years and transfer to another school.
“It’s a good way to start off right,” he said.
The students visited academic and student support offices like Trio, where counselor Vanessa Bates said employees interest students in extracurricular activities.
“We have everything from A to Z,” Bates said.
North Shore and Lynn schools launched CommUniverCity in January with 138 high schoolers enrolled in college classes. Some of the students touring the campus on Tuesday, like Kerrins, are considering CommUniverCity enrollment, while others are thinking about enrolling in North Shore after they graduate high school.
Even as Kerrins and her fellow high school students toured North Shore, state Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago visited the Lynn campus Tuesday to learn about CommUniverCity and other college programs.
Accelerating the path to higher education for high school students will help inject Massachusetts’ workforce with younger employees to replace a growing number of retirees, said Santiago.
“We need to create a pipeline to replace the one-third of the workforce that is set to retire in the near future,” he said.
Lynn School Superintendent Catherine Latham agreed, saying CommUniverCity gives high school students “possibilities and chances” to reach their academic and career goals.
“Our connection to NSCC is a gift to this city and to our kids. The schooling alone is important but the workforce development is a key component too,” she said.
Amanda Downing, a Classical High School senior, said the opportunity to sign up for CommUniverCity will hurry her along to becoming an accountant.
CommUniverCity will offer summer courses with mini-semesters starting in May and on July 5.
“With help, I know I can succeed,” she said.
Thor Jourgensen can be reached at [email protected].