'Awesome' program allows students to complete high school and earn college credits

Graduates of the Centre for Success (CFS) program thanked their teachers and the Durham College (DC) environment for enabling them to continue completion of their secondary school educations.

“It was an awesome environment. Teachers made changes to how we could approach our studies compared to high school,” said Tyler Ahrens, of Courtice, who received his certificate at the Completion Ceremony in the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre, on Thursday, January 19.

The CFS program is hosted on campus through the School College Work Initiative (SCWI), which is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Education. The program is designed to enable in-risk secondary school students to complete their high school academic requirements in a college setting, with high school teachers instructing them on campus. The program offers the students access to smaller class sizes, flexible schedules and increased one-to-one access to teachers. In addition, it provides an opportunity for students to earn at least one, and potentially more, college credits toward their post-secondary education at Durham College.

Erick Joyner, of Pickering, said in his valedictory speech before about 170 CFS graduates, and their families, that the teachers made students feel respected. “They treated us like adults and made sure we completed our studies.”

He said the individualized approach of the teachers “made a difference” for him and the other graduates from four area school boards.

Graduates of the CFS program also frequently continue their studies into post-secondary education. Joyner said he is entering DC’s Paralegal program.

DC President Don Lovisa, Robert Wager, manager, SCWI and Academic Upgrading, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, and Heather Hamilton, from the Ministry of Education, congratulated the students on their hard work and success.

In addition to the DC employees, the students were joined by their families, professors, representatives from the ministry and the partnering district school boards (DSBs): Durham DSB; Durham Catholic DSB; Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB; and Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic DSB.