PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than a dozen high school seniors and recent graduates earned college credits this summer through the MCLA/BCC Summer Academy program.
Friends and family gathered for the graduation luncheon this past Friday in the Conte Federal Building to celebrate the students’ achievement over the monthlong program.
The Summer Academy program, first instituted in 2016, has been designed to give motivated young adults a headstart into college by providing them with two free college courses; Statistics 101 and English 101, both of which award three college credits upon completion.
These credits can be transferred to any state-accredited college inside or out of Massachusetts, which can end up saving students thousands of dollars in tuition.
It also gives participants an opportunity to work a paid internship in a field that interests them over the summer, a free laptop, and a free lunch for every day of the program.
The academy is staffed by faculty and advisers from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Berkshire Community College, which jointly administer the program, and from the local high schools. The internships are available through Berkshire County Regional Employment Board.
With college just around the corner, students were able to gain insight and experience into possible future career paths through their internships.
My internship was a position in journalism at iBerkshires.com, which gave me the opportunity to report on my experience with the program.
Kelby Lesage is a rising senior at Drury High School in North Adams, who is considering a future in social services. The academy allowed him to explore this field when he landed an internship at the Berkshire Community Action Council in Pittsfield.
"I could hardly have asked for a better experience out of my first-ever job," he said. "I've learned a great deal about how public assistance works … This internship experience and the knowledge I gained have encouraged me to strongly consider pursuing a career in the public sector."
As a student of the academy myself, I can safely state that it was a worthwhile experience. The chance to earn six college credits for free, plus get a paid internship, is one that I would recommend to anyone who plans on advancing their education after high school.
Matt McGrory worked at iBerkshires.com during the program, writing articles and learning about the news business.
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