ATTICA TWP. — Trey Trevithick, a senior at Almont High School, and North Branch High School senior Laurali Campbell have very different plans after they graduate.
Trevithick is currently involved with a pathway in computer science but is thinking of making a switch to automotive, which Campbell is devoted to the plan to become a teacher with a focus on becoming a literacy coach for elementary students.
They call two different Lapeer County districts home and will likely end up at different institutions post-graduation. But the one thing they have in common is big — they’re both earning college credits.
Trevithick and Campbell are both enrollees in Almont Early College and North Branch Early College, respectively, and attend college-level classes at the Lapeer Education and Technology Center (Ed-Tech). Along with Almont and North Branch, Imlay City students are also able to enroll in the Early College program.
There are two pathways for students seeking enrollment in the program — traditional or CTE Blend. Both feature a “thirteenth year,” during which students will attend courses on the campus of one of the program’s four college partners while still technically continuing as a high school student.
Students enrolled in the traditional pathway earn 18 credits their junior year and 19 in their senior year. During their 13th year, they earn a minimum of 24 credits, for a total of 61 credits.
Trevithick and Campbell are both Blend students, and as such earned nine college credits last year and will earn nine this year. During their 13th year, they’ll earn a minimum of 24 credits and over the course of the program, they’ll have earned a total of 42 credits.
In both paths, students and their families don’t pay a dime.
For their 13th year, Trevithick will head to Macomb Community College while Campbell will attend classes at Rochester University. Mott Community College and Baker College round out the college partners of the Early College program.
Campbell said the CTE Blend path of Early College program was a perfect fit for her, as she already works four hours a week with 4-year-old children in Ed-Tech’s Early Childhood class. While she gains experience as part of the school’s CTE program, she’s also able to scratch off a couple college classes, like English composition or personal finance. “We lose time at the high school, so this covers English and math credits,” she said.
Campbell said she wouldn’t regret enrolling in the program “even if I failed and didn’t do that thirteenth year,” and advocates for her younger schoolmates to consider enrolling themselves. “Most importantly I’m learning skills to prepare to taking four classes fulltime in college,” she said. “I feel so much more prepared.”
Trevithick echoed that sentiment. “With (the Early College program) we’re really eased into the college experience and it’s relieved a lot of the stress and worry I would have going straight into college,” he said.
The program, said Campbell, “is a great thing for parents to look at” as well as incoming high school students. “If their kids have an opportunity to try it out, and they can do it, why not?”