The Sampson County Board of Education received an update on the state of the Sampson Early College High School (SECHS), housed on Sampson Community College’s campus, during its work session Tuesday morning.
Principal Susan Westerbeek reminded the board that SECHS was founded in 2005 and is one of 70 early college high schools in North Carolina.
Westerbeek added that SECHS continues to target a specific student population that is comprised of first-generation college goers and students at risk of dropping out.
Currently, there are a total of 226 students in SECHS. Female students, making up 69 percent of the student population, outnumber male students, Westerbeek noted.
Also, 79 percent of the student population are first-generation college goers, said Westerbeek, proving that SECHS is bringing in a significant number of students from its targeted student population and is helping to meet their needs.
For the 2012-13 school year, SECHS had 88 students apply with 67 being accepted, reported Westerbeek, explaining that the application process involves submitting an application and then coming in and writing an essay which is later read and evaluated by two SECHS staff members.
Westerbeek shared that when they talk to eighth graders about possibly attending SECHS they make sure that the students are aware of the advantages as well as of the sacrifices that go along with being a SECHS student.
Among the sacrifices, Westerbeek listed that there are no sports teams and no school band in SECHS. There are also limited club opportunties and a small student body.
However, she stressed that the advantages are just as numerous. According to Westerbeek, SECHS provides a unique high school experience on a college campus and gives students the opportunity to earn up to two years worth of transferable college credits or an associate’s degree all while finishing high school.
Additionally, students attending SECHS, which is on a five-year plan instead of the traditional four year plan of the regular high schools, receive their 5th year, or 13th grade, for free.
As far as this year’s graduating class is concerned, Westerbeek shared that 36 students will be graduating in May, and 27 associate’s degrees will be earned by 25 of those 36 students. Two students are actually receiving two associate’s degrees each.
Westerbeek told the board that she hopes that the student population will increase over the next few years as SECHS can enroll up to 300 students and that they are working to get their enrollment closer to that number.
For more information about the Sampson Early College High School, please contact 910-592-8081, ext. 6003 or visit their website at http://www.sampsoncc.edu/SECHS-Home.asp.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at email@example.com.