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Lawrence Students are Off to College, While Still in High School

Submitted by on January 30, 2017 – 8:29 pm

LHS Juniors Jennifer Lantigua and Stevenson Theosmy are taking college level STEM courses at NECC.

After their high school day is over, a group of ambitious Lawrence students will now be going to college, taking one or two STEM (science, technology, engineering and math courses) on the Lawrence campus of Northern Essex Community College in the late afternoon.

This new partnership between Lawrence Public Schools and Northern Essex was made possible by grants from the Commonwealth Dual Enrollment and the STEM Starter Academy programs.  The grants will cover tuition and fees, books, transportation, snacks, and the use of graphing calculators for the 35 students, most of whom are juniors.

Jennifer Lantigua, a junior, is taking Human Nutrition and Quantitative Reasoning this semester, and when asked if she’s looking forward to the opportunity, she says “Of course!”

Lantigua, who aspires to be a pediatrician, hopes success in her college coursework will increase her high school GPA and also help her get ahead.  Planning for the future, she says her “career will last a lot of years” so she wants to be sure she works hard and makes the right choices.

Stevenson Theosmy, also a junior, is taking precalculus.  He’s interested in studying mechanical engineering in college and says the college credit “will help me when I’m applying to colleges.”

Loris Toribio, Lawrence High School’s early college coordinator, agrees there are many benefits for high school students who earn college credits, especially students who visit a college campus to take courses.  “Research shows that students who go to a college campus do better, meaning they’re more successful in their college class and more likely to attend college after high school,” she says.  “That’s why we decided to offer these courses at Northern Essex where student can experience all the perks from the café to tutoring.”

Students can also save money, she adds, since these courses will transfer to two and four-year colleges.

NECC Professor Habib Maagoul (center) with students Stevenson Theosmy, Lesley Garcia, David Vinas, and Jaritza Paulino. All are enrolled in Professor Maagoul’s PreCalculus course.

While this program was available to all Lawrence High School students, those accepted were required to take an assessment test.

“The students have different academic backgrounds and not all are necessarily at the top of their class,” says Toribio.  “One thing that they have in common is that they want to challenge themselves and save money and time as they prepare to go to college.”

Since this is a pilot program, students will be carefully tracked to determine how well they are doing as compared to how they have done in the past.

In addition to the courses on the Lawrence Campus, Northern Essex is offering two college courses on site at Lawrence High School: English 101 and Medical Terminology.  In total, 66 Lawrence students are dual enrolled this year, taking Northern Essex courses that offer high school and college credit.

Northern Essex partners with many local high schools, offering programs which are designed to prepare students to succeed in college. In addition to Lawrence High School, Northern Essex has partnered with Amesbury High School, Haverhill High School, Methuen High School, Newburyport High School, Pentucket Regional High School; Triton Regional High School; Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School; Phoenix Academy, Lawrence; High School Learning Center, Lawrence; Notre Dame Cristo Rey, Lawrence; Sanborn Regional High School, and Timberlane Regional High School.

For more information on high school partnerships available through Northern Essex Community College, contact Adam Cutler, assistant director, secondary-postsecondary linkages, or 978 738-7546.