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North Providence seniors become first class to graduate P-TECH cohort with CCRI

AG1June 4, 2021

Twelve seniors from North Providence High School will graduate with their associate degree from the Community College of Rhode Island in addition to their high school diploma as part of the school’s first Rhode Island Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) Healthcare cohort.

One of the largest graduating P-TECH cohorts in the state, all 12 students from North Providence are transferring to four-year schools next fall and will enroll as juniors having already completed 60 college credits. To celebrate the accomplishment, CCRI hosted the 12 graduates and their families at a special recognition ceremony at the college’s Knight Campus on Thursday. (A photo gallery of yesterday’s presentation is available online.)

“What our students in the North Providence P-TECH cohort have accomplished over the past four years is nothing short of remarkable,” said CCRI President Meghan Hughes. “To begin this journey as the first group in their school to do so, and then successfully transition to remote learning amidst the pandemic all while balancing a busy high school and college schedule shows a tremendous amount of determination and dedication to their academic success. Our goal is graduating students who are ready to transfer to a four-year college or enter the workforce, and our work through the P-TECH model is an important step in helping these students prepare and train today for the jobs of tomorrow.”

“I am thrilled to join in congratulating the first class of P-TECH graduates from North Providence High School,” said R.I. Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio. “I have been proud to support the P-TECH program because it helps make tangible connections between coursework and its application in the real world. The knowledge and skills developed through P-TECH will benefit everyone who is graduating and give them a head start on their higher education pursuits.”

P-TECH is a partnership between school districts, CCRI, Commerce RI, RI Department of Labor and Training, and industry partners that allows students to earn both their high school diploma and associate degree over the course of four years for free in addition to valuable one-on-one mentoring, workplace visits, summer internships, and career opportunities with partner businesses.

In an effort to ensure career readiness and help Rhode Island build a skilled workforce, students take high-school classes and full college course load through P-TECH while earning relevant professional experience in some of the state’s high-growth, high-wage industries. Upon graduation, they can choose to continue their studies at a four-year school, or enter the workforce with industry connections and the skills for well-paying jobs.

“Congratulations to North Providence High School’s first graduating class of P-TECH students,” said R.I. House of Representatives Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi. “When companies consider locating in Rhode Island, a top concern is that we have enough skilled workers to support business growth. P-TECH programs like this enable students to gain valuable real-world experience while discovering different career paths, and it helps to build Rhode Island’s workforce pipeline. I commend all of the graduating P-TECH students for having the dedication and fortitude to earn their associate degree in addition to a high school diploma.”

“The students never cease to amaze us,” said North Providence School District Superintendent Joseph B. Goho, who was the principal at the school when P-TECH first launched. “The fact we had our first cohort and one of the largest groups of P-TECH students in the state surpassed our wildest expectations.”

“CCRI made everything easier for our students,” added North Providence High School Principal Christen A. Magill. “They loved being on campus for their classes and they were welcomed openly as young adults in a college setting. The partnership has been exceptional.”

Launched five years ago by former R.I. Governor Gina Raimondo as part of her economic development agenda, P-TECH is also available at Davies Career and Technical High School (Advanced Manufacturing), Westerly High School (Advanced Manufacturing), Rogers High School (Cybersecurity), Woonsocket High School (Information Technology), and Providence Career and Technical Academy (IT). 

“The students graduating from P-TECH have demonstrated initiative and dedication that will serve them well as they enter the workforce,” said R.I. Department of Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “Post-secondary education is becoming increasingly important for all career paths, and RIDE is proud to work together with Commerce RI and CCRI provide our students with a path to earning a degree concurrent with their high school education. On behalf of RIDE, I want to extend our congratulations to today’s graduates and wish them the best of luck in their future careers.”

Through P-TECH, several students reaffirmed their desire to enter the healthcare industry, while others channeled their passion for helping others through different avenues. Several also earned their Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license at CCRI, which allowed for a more hands-on experience in working with industry partners such as Brookdale Senior Living, Fatima Hospital, and Golden Crest Nursing Centre.

Amber Casey, 18, a North Providence native, drew inspiration from watching her father – paralyzed from a traumatic brain injury sustained before she was born – undergo physical therapy to regain mobility. She will continue her career at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire next fall and pursue a career in physical therapy.

“I want to be able to help people the way his physical therapist helped him,” Casey said. “P-TECH was a tremendous asset. To be able to shadow someone who is already in the industry and doing what we want to do helps you further understand what to expect once you enter the workforce. I am very, very grateful for the entire experience.”

Cameron Twitchell, 18, was initially attracted to the idea of earning an associate degree at no cost while attending high school. After trying his hand at respiratory therapy, he soon developed an interest in forensic science and will begin pursuing a career in that field when he transfers next fall to Roger Williams University.

“I found out I was more interested in chemistry and actually really good at it, so I decided this was a career I’d be interested in,” Twitchell said. “P-TECH gave me the opportunity to enroll in those courses and discover what I really wanted to do with my education.”

“A program like P-Tech is an opportunity for all students,” said Melissa Caffrey, the North Providence School District’s Director of Multiple Pathways. “It’s about drive, commitment, and a passion for learning, because if you have the drive, you will take advantage of the opportunities presented to you. These students are a prime example of that. They worked around the clock.”

The P-TECH graduates from North Providence are:

  • Jewliana Barry, transferring to Rhode Island College to pursue a career in Radiology.
  • Amber Casey, transferring to Franklin Pierce University to pursue a career in physical therapy.
  • Amelia Davis, transferring to Rhode Island College to pursue a career in secondary education.
  • Alyashanti Green, transferring to Tufts University to study Chemical Physics and enter Medical School.
  • Annette Gweh, transferring to Johnson & Wales to study Biology and pursue a career in Nephrology.
  • Deanna Irrizary, transferring to Rhode Island College to continue her education.
  • Meta Konte, transferring to Roger Williams University to pursue a career in Dermatology.
  • Suzanne Mosley, transferring to Iona College to pursue a career in speech language pathology.
  • Jacklyn Nolan, transferring to Rhode Island College to study Nursing.
  • Adedayo Owode, attending the University of Rhode Island to pursue a career in the healthcare industry.
  • Kallie Poulin, transferring to the University of New Hampshire to study Biology.
  • Cameron Twitchell, transferring to Roger Williams University to study Chemistry and pursue a career in forensic science.

Joining them at the event at CCRI was Allison Bransfield, a P-TECH junior at Rogers High School in Newport who enters her senior year this fall and has been accepted to Purdue University’s Polytechnic program for Computer Science with a minor in Cybersecurity.

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