This year the number of high school and college graduates has reached an all time high of 24 students. At this event, each college graduate presents an award to someone who has made a positive impact on his or her academic life. These educators are coaches, teachers, professors, career advisors, advocates, counselors and out-of-school staff. These exceptional people provide needed social capital to our students. That capital comes as inspiration, role modeling, mentorship, connections, advice, employment or just a sympathetic ear.
Of our 10 college graduates, four graduated from North Shore Community College and all are moving on to Salem State University in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. Four graduated from Salem State University, one from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and one from Montserrat College of Art. Four of these students plan to go on to graduate school — some this year and some after working for a few years.
Since 2009, we have had 45 students who entered post-secondary education from our College Success program. Eighty-seven percent, or 39 students, have graduated or are still in school, 9 percent are on a leave of absence for a variety of reasons and are expected to return to school in a year and only 4 percent have dropped out and are unlikely to return to school soon. Those are the facts.
I would like to put a human face on our graduates by introducing you to Jacque. Jacque has been part of Salem Cyberspace since eighth grade and met with her CyberSpace advisor throughout her college years. This past week, she graduated from the Salem State University Bertolon School of Business, finishing her coursework in 31/2 years with a 3.3 GPA. During her entire time at school, she worked 25 hours per week. With that money, she covered her own expenses, helped two of her newly immigrated sisters through ESL classes at Salem State and helped her family pay bills. In high school and college Jacque has rarely been without a job. Since she finished school in December with a degree in marketing/graphic design, she has been looking for a job in her field. Jacque is one of those lucky people who has a passion for her work. Jacque’s hard work paid off. This month Jacque will start a job at a start-up mobile marketing company as a graphic designer while starting an evening master’s program. You go girl!