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HHS/NECC Early College Program Receives Designation Award from Governor; Program Now Free to Families

Submitted by on June 13, 2019 – 8:12 pm
Marcy Vozella and Noemi Custodia-Lora accept the Early college designation from Gov. Baker.

Front row left to right: Jim Peyser, MA secretary of education; Marcy Yeager, NECC; Noemi Custodia-Lora, NECC; Noelia Mason, HHS student who will begin Early College Program in September; Tony Curet, HHS; back row left to right: Victor Sanchez, HHS student who will begin Early College Program in September; and Governor Baker .

The Haverhill High School Early College Program with Northern Essex Community College received the seal of approval from Governor Charlie Baker and his administration, during a ceremony held Thursday, June 13 in Boston.

The HHS/NECC Partnership was one of 13 across the state awarded designation by the Governor after a rigorous selection process.

With the new awards, there are now 35 high schools in Massachusetts with designated Early College programs, including Northern Essex’s partnership with Lawrence High School, which received designation last year.

“Exposing students to early college is a way to create opportunities for students to earn college credits in high school and encourage them to continue pursuing a degree,” Governor Charlie Baker said. “We believe early college has such an impact on student success that our administration proposed making it part of a school district’s state aid calculations so that more districts can provide students with these opportunities.” Early College programs combine traditional high school classes with college courses through a local public college or university to give high school students knowledge and exposure to an area of study.

The HHS/NECC Early College Program began five years ago, and the first graduates—a group of 18— were recognized in January of 2015.

Up until now, families have been asked to help cover the costs, but with this new designation, all courses within the program will be free to HHS families, beginning this fall.

This fall, 88 Haverhill High School juniors and seniors are enrolled in the Early College program.  They will take two courses each semester and a January intercession course, and by the time they graduate from high school, they will each have 28 to 30 college credits, close to a full year of college studies.  All courses are taught on Northern Essex’s Haverhill Campus and students will travel by bus to campus from the high school in the afternoon.  Students can choose from different pathways: liberal arts, business, healthcare, education, social services, criminal justice and STEM.

The college hopes to grow the program to 100 students by 2021.

Kaleigh Credit, a 2019 HHS grad, will be transferring to UMass Boston in the fall with 30 college credits.  As the featured speaker at the Early College Recognition Ceremony in May, she called Early College one of “the most underrated opportunities that we as high schools students have the opportunity of taking advantage of.”

Kaleigh Credit, a 2019 HHS grad, will be transferring to UMass Boston in the fall with 30 college credits.  She was the featured speaker at the Early College Recognition Ceremony in May.

She credited Early College will allowing her to save a year’s worth of time and money as she pursues her bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Northern Essex currently has Early College Programs with Lawrence, Haverhill, Whittier and Amesbury high schools. Last fall, there were 300 high school students receiving college credit from Northern Essex by enrolling in Early College Programs or other high school partnerships.

Lane Glenn, president of Northern Essex Community College, is pleased that the Governor and his administration has made Early College a priority.  “These students learn how to be successful in college and they also save a considerable amount on the cost of their college education.  Early College programs address student success and college affordability.”

There are still spaces available for the fall.

To learn more, visit the website or contact NECC at 978 659-1235 or

With campuses in Haverhill and Lawrence, Northern Essex Community College offers over 60 associate degree and certificate programs as well as hundreds of noncredit courses designed for personal enrichment and career growth.  Each year, close to 8,000 students are enrolled in credit associate degree and certificate programs on the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses; and another 2,600 take noncredit workforce development and community education classes on campus, and at businesses and community sites across the Merrimack Valley.  For more information, visit the website at