FULTON – More than 30 Fulton City School District ninth graders began their high school and college journeys simultaneously when the 2018-19 school year began.
Those G. Ray Bodley High School students are already hard at work with a four-year goal of obtaining nearly enough credits for an associate’s degree in information technology from Cayuga Community College through GRB’s first-ever Early College High School Program.
Also supported by the Workforce Development Board of Oswego County, the high school students will receive mentoring from professionals in the IT field while they gain both high school and college credits.
“It gives you a lot of opportunity; you can go to college and expand your knowledge in (IT),” said participant Hanna Miller.
When she discussed her four-year plan with her father, Miller said she already made connections with possible future employment opportunities because a lot of the skills and knowledge learned with the program will be transferable to many careers.
Sean Broderick, coordinator of the ECHSP at GRB, said the transitional college immersion experience is offered to students for free, thanks to a five-year New York State Education Department grant.
The motivated group of students of selected students had to apply for the program and Broderick said their maturity has exceeded his expectations thus far in the 2018-19 school year.
Several students are first-generation college-goers and are focused on success.
Sarah Yaw, CCC’s director of K-12 Partnership and Academic Pathways, called the CCC and GRB collaboration on of the greatest she has been involved with and said the students should be proud to already call themselves college students.
GRB freshman Aeryn Digby stressed the importance of obtaining 48 college credits for free with full commitment to the program.
When she graduates high school in 2022, she said she would like to finish the college degree she started with the Fulton City School District and work toward establishing a career in video game creation or digital arts.
The program also reaffirms the talent Fulton City School District students have, Broderick said.
Early College High School participants include: Michelangelo Bellavia, Zackery Bennett, Ian Blaine, Michael Brown, Gibran Catano-Matip, Madison Clark, Kaitlin Clingerman, Jaydyn Conley, Aeryn Digby, Logan Downey, Jaxson Jodway, Tyler Ladue, Benjamin Maliszewski, Hanna Miller, Logan Murphy, Sydney Osborn, Courtney Pierce, Reece Pierce, Nate Raymond, Tanner Tetro, Sarah Wells, Aimee Fyffe, Matt Miller, Ashton Gates, George McLoughlin, Paris Kress, Phillip Tomarchio, Jenesis Whitfield, Damien Piper, Conner Barry, Spencer Adkins and Ethan Locastro.
All the students are taking their classes this school year at GRB, including one CCC business class.
They will visit the college’s Fulton campus later this month for an official tour.