Embracing Our New Partners

Students at Meachem Elementary School hug OCC mascot “Blaze” during a kickoff event celebrating a new educational partnership between Meachem and OCC.


Onondaga Community College and the Syracuse City School District celebrated two new partnerships with energetic and heartwarming ceremonies September 14 at Meachem Elementary School and J.T. Roberts PreK-8 School. Both are joining a program which will bring OCC Administrators, Faculty and Students to the school regularly to share academic and life lessons. The goal of the program is to help students start thinking about career opportunities and higher education at a younger age. “All of the research will tell you the earlier you talk to a child about his or her future the more likely the student is to engage in planning and thinking and preparing,” said OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill.

OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill speaks at Roberts.

OCC started the pilot program last year at McKinley-Brighton Elementary. Throughout the year college representatives visited the school and assisted students in a variety of ways by working on arts and creative activities, conducting STEM demonstrations and engaging students in leadership activities. There was also a field trip to the OCC campus for students to enjoy and learn from.

“Our middle name is ‘community,’” said Dr. Crabill. “We think one of the most important problems to solve in Syracuse is a perceived lack of opportunity. Education is a piece of that and it doesn’t have to stop just because you graduate from high school.”

“This is a great partnership,” said Syracuse City School District Superintendent Jaime Alicea. “One of our goals is to graduate our students to be college and career ready. Getting the kids exposed to college at an early age will provide them the opportunity to be engaged in the process, to get to know people from college and give our staff the opportunity to work with OCC.”

The new partnership ceremonies ended with wonderful gestures from both schools to OCC. At Meachem, Principal Katie Moulton led the student body in a cheer called “The Roller Coaster.” At Roberts, Vice Principal Deanna Daniel was accompanied by 6th graders as she sang, “I Believe I Can Fly.”

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