Monday was “College Signing Day” in the Syracuse City School District. Students at each of the five city high schools had the opportunity to sign with the college of their choice and put a handmade sign on the wall indicating which college they would be attending. Onondaga Community College played a significant role in the festivities with representatives at each of the schools.
The biggest celebration was reserved for the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central where college will be starting early for 39 sophomores. These students are part of the “P-Tech” program which stands for Pathways in Technology Early College High School. The program is a collaboration between the Syracuse City School District and OCC which helps high school students earn valuable credits toward an associate degree while partnering with industry leaders. These students will come to the OCC campus twice a week for classes during their junior year of high school and three times a week during their senior year.
During the signing ceremony Syracuse Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras and OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill told students about their shared vision for the program. “Dr Crabill and I met three years ago and discussed how to make college affordable for every single student. We asked, ‘How do we get more women into sciences and engineering? How do we make sure underrepresented students have the opportunity to go into college and to go into fields that result in high paying jobs,’” said Contreras. “We did a lot of thinking about all of you back before you were thinking about coming into our program because we wanted to make sure the program we put together would give you the opportunity to excel,” said Dr. Crabill. “We’re very excited to welcome you to campus. I look forward to the day when I can give you your degrees on the stage at the SRC Arena.”
Following the remarks each student was given a certificate which included his or her name and chosen degree path of either Electrical Engineering Technology or Mechanical Technology. Students also posed for photos with Contreras and Crabill.
Student Quintin Shanes will be pursuing an Electrical Engineering Technology degree in the P-Tech program. His love of math, science and technology started in the home. Shanes’ father is an electrical engineer. “It’s like a free two years where you don’t have to worry about college debt. If my dad was my age right now he would definitely take advantage of this.”
All costs associated with the P-Tech program including tuition, books and fees are covered by a grant from the New York State Education Department.