Cabrini wel­comes Ce­cil Early Col­lege Academy stu­dents


— Although it will be nearly two years un­til they con­cur­rently earn their Ox­ford Area, Pa., High School and Ce­cil Col­lege diplo­mas, 11 Early Col­lege Academy stu­dents had a taste of what lies ahead on their ed­u­ca­tional paths by spend­ing a cou­ple of sum­mer days on the cam­pus of Cabrini Univer­sity.

Af­ter mov­ing into Xavier Res­i­dence Hall for a onenight stay, they im­mersed them­selves in col­lege life by par­tic­i­pat­ing in a pro­gram of ex­plo­ration, which in­cluded work­shops and ac­tiv­i­ties led by Cabrini and Ce­cil staff and fac­ulty.

“It was re­ally exciting to be liv­ing on a col­lege cam­pus for a cou­ple of days,” stu­dent Rhi­an­non Deni­son said. “Whether we go to Cabrini or some­where else, it was ben­e­fi­cial to give us an idea of how col­leges are set up.”

Deni­son es­pe­cially en­joyed a work­shop on in­equal­ity in the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem. Af­ter lis­ten­ing to a lec­ture, the stu­dents brain­stormed and pre­sented ideas on how to fix the sys­tem. Other topics cov­ered through­out the visit in­cluded di­ver­gent think­ing, ser­vice learn­ing, in­ter­view­ing and net­work­ing strat­egy, and a well-re­ceived team­build­ing game cre­ation ac­tiv­ity.

The work con­tin­ued right


Early Col­lege Academy stu­dents tour Cabrini Univer­sity.

through lunch on the sec­ond day when the stu­dents had the op­por­tu­nity to chat with Cabrini and Ce­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tives about their ca­reers. Although the sched­ule was tightly packed with aca­demic ac­tiv­i­ties, the par­tic­i­pants also en­joyed some in­for­mal time such as hav­ing meals to­gether and hang­ing out in the res­i­dence hall.

“It was re­ally fun be­ing around each other,” Deni­son said. “Most of us were friends, but just within school. This al­lowed us to in­ter­act with each other in a so­cial set­ting.”

Deni­son is part of the first co­hort of 17 stu­dents who be­gan the Early Col­lege Academy in fall 2014. With cur­ricu­lum de­signed to be pro­gres­sively more rig­or­ous as they progress from ninth to 12th grade, the stu­dents

are si­mul­ta­ne­ously en­rolled in course­work that ful­fills both high school grad­u­a­tion and as­so­ciate de­gree re­quire­ments. Each year the num­ber of high school classes de­creases, and the col­lege cour­ses in­crease.

Thus far, all of the col­lege course­work has taken place at Ox­ford Area High School. In the third and fourth years, the bulk of the time con­sists of col­lege classes on Ce­cil’s North East cam­pus.

“It’s been a lit­tle tough, but we are start­ing to fig­ure out how to do it,” Deni­son said. “Since I will only have two high school classes next year, I think it will be a lot eas­ier. You need to do a lot of plan­ning and make sure you do your work way ahead of time and not wait un­til the night be­fore.”

Deni­son, who is in­ter­ested in a ca­reer in soft­ware en­gi­neer­ing or bio­chem­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing, plans to uti­lize this pro­gram as a spring­board to at least three more de­grees. She would like to even­tu­ally earn her doc­tor­ate and was at­tracted to the idea of ac­cel­er­at­ing the at­tain­ment of her ed­u­ca­tional goals.

“The sooner I can get an as­so­ciate de­gree, then I can get a bach­e­lor’s de­gree,” Deni­son said. “This is mak­ing my time in school shorter by a cou­ple of years.”

Deni­son’s co­hort was fol­lowed by 21 stu­dents who en­rolled last fall and have com­pleted the first year of the Early Col­lege Academy. With more than 30 stu­dents ac­cepted for the third co­hort, Ce­cil Col­lege and Ox­ford Area High School are gear­ing up for the largest class yet.


Early Col­lege Academy stu­dents took some time for a group dis­cus­sion dur­ing their tour of Cabrini Univer­sity.


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