HAVERHILL – Superintendent Maureen Lynch wishes to reflect on the recent success of Whittier Tech’s Early College Education Program and Concurrent Enrollment Program.
In March 2021, Whittier Tech and Northern Essex Community College (NECC) were approved for an Early College Designation, which created a natural pipeline for Whittier students to obtain college credits at no cost. Students have the opportunity to earn up to 12 college credits during their time at Whittier as part of the program.
Students may earn additional credits through Concurrent Enrollment, which is offered to students in the Advanced Manufacturing, Electronics Robotics, and CAD Drafting programs, and puts students on the pathway to an Associate’s Degree in those respective areas.
Some students also choose to take classes in their free time.
This year, 55 seniors graduated with a combined 727 early college credits from NECC, in addition to graduating with their high school diploma and trade certifications/credentials.
“Students who participate in early college are exposed to so many skills that will enrich their lives no matter what they pursue after graduation. These skills include time management, study skills, focus and concentration, professional communication, collaboration, and so much more,” said Tia Gerber, Director of Community Partnerships and a Whittier Tech alumni. “I applaud all students working to earn college credits while in high school. It’s an incredibly impressive undertaking.”
Ryan Link, a senior from Haverhill studying Advanced Manufacturing, is the first Whitter Tech student to have earned more than a full year of college credits upon graduation from Whittier. He graduated in June with 39 college credits.
He plans to either work full time or continue to pursue a degree through the MassTransfer Program.
Akira Matos, a senior student from Haverhill pursuing Metal Fabrication, graduated with 18 college credits.Beyond her required college courses, Matos took Biology 101 and Chemistry 101, and needs only four more science courses to earn an Associate’s Degree in General Health from NECC.
Matos plans to finish her Associate’s Degree at NECC and then transfer to a four-year state university through the MassTransfer program.
“This really is such a good idea for high school students. It’s free courses, and I can get general education requirements out of the way with the help of Whittier instructors and NECC professors. Because we have access to Whittier teachers every day it’s easier than emailing or going to NECC campus for tutoring or extra help,” Matos said.
Ray Lurie, a senior from Newbury studying Design Visual Communications (DVC), graduated with 16 college credits. Beyond his required college courses, Ray took American Sign Language 1 and Introduction to Art Experiences 100.
Lurie is ranked second in the graduating class with a grade-point average of 4.38. He earned the 2020 Excellence in Education award from NECC, was honored as Whittier Tech Student of the Month in September 2021, and also is a member of the National Technical Honor Society.
Lurie plans to pursue a career in illustration, and will attend MassArt. He also plans to work in the design industry as a freelance artist in his spare time.
“I wanted to take advantage of early college to have more general education requirements completed so when I begin full time at MassArt next fall I can focus on courses that I am more passionate about and complete my degree more quickly,” Lurie said.
Gianna McColley, a junior from Haverhill studying DVC, began taking college courses as part of the program in summer 2021. So far, she has completed 16 credits. McColley plans to earn enough credits to complete her Associate’s Degree in Psychology upon her graduation next June.
Outside of the required college courses, McColley noted that her favorite course was Biology, “Although it was an entirely online course, the instructors’ content and assignments made it fun to learn.”
“Students who participate in the Early College Program, leave Whittier with a robust resume that includes not only a high school diploma, but also extensive vocational skills and college experience. It is a great way for students to leverage themselves for success in the future by learning new skills and reducing the cost of a college degree,” Superintendent Lynch said.
Rising juniors and seniors are eligible to enroll in the program for the 2022-23 school year. Interested students are asked to reach out to Gerber at email@example.com or 978-373-4101, ext. 327.