Clear Horizons Early College High School (CHECHS) and San Jacinto College students Christian Rose (left) and Claude Hardy (right) were recently named National Achievement Scholarship Program semifinalists. Finalists will be named in February 2013. Photo credit: Andrea Vasquez, San Jacinto College marketing department.
Early college high school students named National Achievement semifinalists
Andrea Vasquez-- November 19, 2012
HOUSTON – Clear Horizons Early College High School (CHECHS) continues to expand on its reputation of student success and academic excellence, with students Christian Rose and Claude Hardy named as National Achievement Scholarship Program semifinalists.
The National Achievement Scholarship Program is an academic competition established in 1964 to provide recognition for outstanding Black American high school students. For the two 17-year-old high school seniors, this recognition is both an honor and statement of the quality education both agree they’ve received at CHECHS during the last three years.
“I was really happy; I didn’t think I’d get it,” said Hardy, who hopes to attend either The University of Texas at Austin or Tulane University to major in public health.
Like Hardy, Rose was also surprised when CHECHS principal Dr. Brett Lemley gave him the good news. Hoping to attend the University of Southern California to major in film production, Rose says that since he has already been taking college courses while still in high school, transitioning to a four-year university will be a lot easier. “My college classes are easier to study for than the high school classes because there’s more homework and busy work involved in high school classes,” said Rose. “College classes make you realize that the most important things to do are to read the textbook and study your notes in order to pass the class. It’s definitely challenging doing both at the same time, but it’s also very rewarding.”
Established in 2007 as a partnership between Clear Creak ISD, CHECHS is housed on the San Jacinto College South Campus. Last May, 65 out of a class of 75 graduating seniors received associate degrees before graduating with high school diplomas. Earlier this year, U.S. News ranked CHECHS 48th in the nation among charter schools, 34th among high schools in the state of Texas, and 387th out of 22,000 high schools nationwide.
“I think the biggest benefit of going to a school like CHECHS is that it gives students a chance, who might not have had a chance to get these scholarships. The faculty help students learn in ways that work best for them and show them how to develop good study and time management habits, more than what’s probably possible at a normal high school. It just goes to show that it’s worth having in the district, and there should be more schools like it in the country,” said Rose.
With minority students making up 59 percent of the student population at CHECHS, early college high school (ECHS) programs continue to raise the bar for academic standards and raising minority graduation rates. Most ECHS course work consists of Pre-AP and AP classes along with college-level courses. According to 2010 data from the national Early College High School Initiative, 5,414 students graduated from ECHS programs around the country, with 23 percent earning associate degrees or technical certificates and 77 percent continuing on to some form of postsecondary education. Last year, in a partnership with Pasadena Independent School District, San Jacinto College added a second early college high school to the College district by opening the Pasadena Early College High School (PECHS), with approximately 60 incoming high school freshmen. This Fall San Jacinto College also launched the Sheldon Early College High School, in partnership with Sheldon Independent School District.
“I think because the National Achievement Scholarship Program recognizes black students, it says something about the diversity at Clear Horizons,” said Hardy. “It shows that it’s not just a ‘certain’ type of student that succeeds. Any student can succeed if they try and put in the hard work, no matter what or where they come from. I think that scholarships like this, along with the diversity that CHECHS has will attract more students who are from other backgrounds, and motivate them to be successful as well.”
About the National Achievement Scholarship Program
The National Achievement Scholarship Program is an academic competition established in 1964 to provide recognition for outstanding Black American high school students. Students may enter both the National Achievement Program and the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) and meeting other published requirements for participation. Approximately 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools across the U.S. entered the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2011 PSAT/NMSQT. The nationwide pool of 16,000 semifinalists, about 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. Each semifinalist must submit a detailed scholarship application providing information on their academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities, and honors and awards received, an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm their earlier performance on the PSAT/NMSQT. In February 2013, 15,000 finalists will be named.
About Clear Horizons Early College High School
Established in 2007 as a partnership between Clear Creak ISD and San Jacinto College, CHECHS opened its doors at the SJC South Campus to 208 students. Last year, CHECHS enrolled 379 students with a graduating class of 75 seniors all with 40 or more college credit hours; 65 of them earned their associate degrees in May 2012 before graduating with their high school diplomas. Each year the CCISD open enrollment charter school allows eighth-grade students to apply for the lottery selection of the allotted 120 seats in the freshman class. Earlier this year, U.S. News ranked CHECHS 48th in the nation among charter schools, 34th among high schools in the state of Texas, and 387th out of 22,000 high schools nationwide. CHECHS has also earned a Texas Education Agency (TEA) Exemplary rating for 2008, 2009, and 2010, and continues to hold its students and faculty to the highest educational standards.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
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