Seventeen students from Accelerate program earn college credits as high school seniors
May 24, 2022
Seventeen seniors from Providence’s public high schools will graduate from their respective high school this year as part of the Community College of Rhode Island’s Accelerate program, a collaboration between the Rhode Island Department of Education, CCRI, and the Providence Public School Department to provide students to earn up to 24 free transferable college credits before graduating high school
Through this full-time, dual-enrollment program, which launched in 2020, high school seniors from Providence complete their senior year at CCRI and earn college credit and credit for high school graduation simultaneously. Their fall courses focus on fulfilling high school graduation requirements while the spring courses focus on a specific academic pathway selected by the student.
This year’s Accelerate graduates were honored at a special recognition ceremony alongside the college’s Rhode Island Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) graduates this week at CCRI’s Liston Campus. After graduating its first cohort in 2021, P-TECH graduated an additional seven students from North Providence High School and one from Rogers High School in 2022 alongside this year’s Accelerate graduates as the latest among a select group of students to take advantage of these beneficial dual-enrollment programs.
“I was nervous at first, but really wanted to take the opportunity to earn college credits,” said Times² STEM Academy senior and Accelerate graduate Badhan Hasan, who is attending the University of Rhode Island in the fall to pursue a career in computer science.
“I grew up a bit in this program and learned to be self-sufficient and manage my time wisely. The program was very beneficial to me and allowed me to see what college is all about.”
Others, including Times² senior Hailey Santos, noted the temptation to remain at their high school alongside classmates to indulge in the “senior experience,” but ultimately found Accelerate to be a useful tool in preparing them for life on a college campus.
“In the end, it was worth it,” said Santos, who is attending CCRI in the fall to pursue a human services career. “I’m already ahead of the curve for college, I have college experience now, and have guidance on my career, whereas if I stayed at my high school, I would probably be stuck thinking, ‘What am I going to be when I grow up?’ At CCRI, they offer so much help. Thanks to Accelerate, I have a better understanding of what I want to be.”
“I loved Accelerate,” added Mia Antelo, a senior from Classical High School who is attending Rhode Island College to pursue human services. “Here, they come to you and ask you if you need help, and that’s something I appreciated. I loved coming here and being part of this group. Accelerate helped me discover what I wanted to do and what I wanted to focus on.”
Chekotay Fremming, a senior from 360 High School attending URI next fall to study aerospace engineering, enrolled in Accelerate at the behest of his guidance counselor and found the initial adjustment to college curriculum “challenging” until he began relying more on his own intuition and less on his peers.
“You have to teach yourself; you have to do a lot of time management and learning as you go along,” Fremming said. “The experience, to me, is what counted the most aside from the college credits. It’s a major difference compared to high school. When I was a junior, I was stressed out about what college was going to be like, but now, through this program, the classes were manageable and I feel less stressed about college. I’m used to it now.”
“I immediately wanted to do it,” said Central senior Marimar Rodriguez, who moved to Rhode Island from New Jersey two years ago and will attend Johnson and Wales University to pursue a career in baking and pastry arts.
“When I first entered Accelerate, I knew it was for me. I was looking for a challenge. In high school, I was on my own trying to figure out how to do things and where to be, but when I got here, I got a lot of help. The organization of everything was so helpful, whether it was keeping track of us through emails or helping us fill out our applications.”
Times² senior Lesly Cordones, like others, initially considered remaining in high school, where she felt comfortable, but enrolling in Accelerate and succeeding in college-level courses gave her the confidence to move forward with her education. Cordones is attending URI in the fall to study psychology.
“Through Accelerate, I learned a lot about college and can confidently say I learned a lot about myself,” she said. “In the beginning, I came here with the intent to pursue nursing, but after taking these courses, I realized I wanted to go into psychology. I had a lot of support in this program and never felt like I was alone.
“Accelerate encourages you and pushes you into trying new things, which really expands your view,” added Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School senior Samantha Obispo. “I had stayed in high school, I would not have gotten a taste of the college experience. This was a really great opportunity.”
Accelerate and P-TECH’s Class of 2022 graduates are listed below:
- Emily Adams, NPHS, transferring to Rhode Island College
- Serina Espino, NPHS, transferring to University of New Hampshire
- Kiara Medeiros, NPHS, transferring to University of Rhode Island
- Jordan Olobri, NPHS, transferring to University of Rhode Island
- Brianna Pedro, NPHS, transferring to University of Rhode Island
- Leandhy Williams, NPHS, transferring to Salve Regina University
- Paula Zhuang, NPHS, transferring to Harvard University
- Michael Gilkeson, Rogers High School, transferring to Salve Regina University
- Chekotay Fremming, 360 High School, attending University of Rhode Island
- Jacqueline Roque, 360 High School, attending CCRI
- Isaac Gbaba, Central High School, attending URI Talent Development Program
- Marimar Rodriguez, Central High School, attending Johnson and Wales University
- Katherine Alvarez, Central High School, attending American University
- Ashley Ordonez, Central High School, attending Providence College
- Mia Antelo, Classical High School, attending Rhode Island College
- Samantha I. Obispo, Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School
- Angel Pelegrin, Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School, attending CCRI
- Olivia L. Witt, Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School
- Francis J. Perez, Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex, enlisting in U.S. Armed Forces
- Shomari Melton, Mount Pleasant High School, attending CCRI
- Badhan Hasan, Times² STEM Academy, attending University of Rhode Island
- Lesly M. Cordones, Times² STEM Academy, attending University of Rhode Island
- Alexander Espinal, Times² STEM Academy, attending Rhode Island College
- Isaac E. Espinal, Times² STEM Academy, attending Rhode Island College
- Hailey Santos, Times² STEM Academy, attending CCRI
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