Ahead of Commencement, Montclair State University hosted a celebration for future college graduates – high school students who have earned college credits as part of the Newark High School Dual Enrollment Program, an initiative that exposed the teens to the college experience and pushed and prepared them for what’s to come.
Developed in response to the pandemic, Montclair partnered with the Newark Board of Education on the grant-funded program, providing free tuition and digital backpacks, including laptops, for 200 Newark high school students. The program provided a variety of academic and co-curricular experiences, including community service projects benefiting the city of Newark and college access workshops on financial aid and the application process.
“I am very excited to witness our vision for the federal and state grant come together,” says Assistant Provost Daniel Jean, co-writer of the grant. “As a proud Newark native and alumnus of University High School it is very gratifying to witness my hometown scholars move closer to their professional aspirations.”
The students and their guests attended a special event on May 17, with the students posing on a red carpet and many showing commitment to higher education by wearing college apparel from the schools they will be attending.
This included future graduates of Montclair State University who look forward to starting school in the fall. “I believe that it will open up many opportunities for me to succeed,” says Hisshne Uthayasooriyan, a senior at Technology High School.
“While I know their college courses these past few semesters were no walk in the park, time and time again I was often shown how they were able to rise above and face their challenges head-on,” says Dual Enrollment Coordinator/Success Coach Jazmene Mosley.
Over the past three semesters, the students were able to earn 9-12 credits by attending college courses virtually on writing, public speaking, sociology and psychology.
Fundamentals of Speech Professor Laureen Lafever says the students challenged themselves with the college-level material. “My class is not an easy one, but these scholars stepped up and met the work with a fierce determination and intense dedication to get the job done well,” Lafever says. “The incredible attitude that they brought to every single class was an inspiration to me.”
The program also assisted students and encouraged them to use resources that are available to them, including tutors, peer mentors, faculty and success coaches. They will have automatic acceptance into one of Montclair’s Summer Bridge College Access Programs: Educational Opportunity Fund, Health Career Program, Academic Launch or University Summer Bridge.
“These supports gave students individuals who understand the college experience and the challenges that come with attending college so they would be ready to tackle them full time once the time comes for them to be on their own,” says Dual Enrollment Coordinator/Success Coach Marlise Silva.
You May Also Like: