Hundreds of proud family members and friends celebrated the accomplishments of Durham College’s (DC) Centre for Success (CFS) students during their program completion ceremony at the Oshawa campus on June 20. The CFS is a part of DC’s School-College-Work Initiative (SCWI) and is funded by the Ministry of Education, allowing students to participate in post-secondary courses and apprenticeship training, earning dual credits that count towards both their high school diploma and their post-secondary diploma or apprenticeship certification.
Now in its twelfth year, the SCWI is a partnership between DC and four local school boards – Durham District School Board, Kawartha Pine Ridge School District Board, Durham Catholic District School Board and the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic School Board.
The program is designed to enable on-risk secondary school students to complete their high school academic requirements but in a college setting, offering them 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 towards their post-secondary education or apprenticeship training at most of the 24 colleges in Ontario This year, 94 per cent of participants successfully completed the program, which exceeds the provincial average of approximately 83 per cent at other dual credit college programs in Ontario.
“It takes a tremendous amount of courage and tenacity to come to a new school and leave behind what is familiar to try something different,” said Robert Wager, director, SCWI and Academic Upgrading. “A lot of our students, due to their circumstances, never had the opportunity to dream. Completing their high school classes on a college campus where they are treated like adults gives them a sense of freedom that they didn’t feel like they had before. That, paired with the opportunity to earn a college credit really motivates them to think positively about their future and what they can achieve.”
Also in attendance at the ceremony was DC vice-president, Academic, Dr. Elaine Popp, who was joined by school board representatives and Ministry of Education dignitaries to show their support for the more than 200 secondary school and adult dual-credit students.
The 2018-2019 school year is the first that the program has been run out of the new Centre for Collaborative Education, which opened its doors to students in September.