"Being a student to a five-square mile town, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, is not the same as being a student from a preparatory school, such as the Hill School, or a larger school, such as Owen J. Roberts High School. The amount of funding spent on each student is significantly less in the Pottstown student's case. However, all students are expected to compete at the same academic level when applying to colleges and universities. A preparatory student or a student from a large high school, with availability to courses such as physics and different types of mathematics, sciences, and even SAT prep courses, has more invested into their education than the students of Pottstown Education.
So what can we do? Do we just complain about unfair the system is? Do we put our heads down and give up? Do we fail to see our futures in reputable colleges and universities? Do we fail to become the politicians, doctors, and engineers we always aspired to be? Do we fail to become successful?
Or do we make a stand? Do we fight to change the unfair system? Do we keep our goals in sight and press on? Do we strive for academic excellence in competing for admission into those reputable universities? Do we become the best politicians, doctors, and engineers in the world? Do we become successful?
As a student of Pottstown High School, I have first-hand witnessed the determination of our students to make that stand to become successful. I have witnessed students staying hours behind school to get tutored. I have seen those very students being involved in countless clubs, organizations, and sports. And on those very weekends, in which most people relish the breathe of fresh air from the school week, I have seen our students build up their resumés by working jobs.
By performing well in academics, staying involved through community service and school organizations and sports, and even building up work experience through part-time jobs, Pottstown High School students are able to compete against any students in the U.S.
But what is the most important element, in order to be competitive, when applying to colleges? What sets Pottstown High School students apart from the rest of the students when applying to colleges and universities?
College experience, that ability to show colleges that we can excel at College level academics, while remaining self sufficient and independent. This is not only the most important element, it is also the hardest to achieve for a student, especially for students that have considerably less educational funding.
Before I was given the opportunity of the Early College Program, I had previously taken Montgomery County Community College Courses. The summer after my Freshman year of high school, I had taken two classes, Introduction to Psychology and English Composition I. The experience of taking my first college classes was unforgettable. The level of maturity and commitment to further education was quite evident. The only negative aspect I saw of that experience was that it took two summers worth of pay, from my summer job, for the 10 week experience. Nevertheless it was quite worth it.
The Early College Program, providing that level of college experience, is the most significant program I've been grateful to have been a part of. All of the college acceptances and financial aid I've been given, I can honestly say, I wouldn't have imagined it to have been this beneficial without the Pottstown Foundation for Education. That very ability to obtain college experience, up to 30 college credits worth of experience for free, is what sets the Early College Program students apart from other students in the U.S., when applying to colleges and universities.
The program was marvelous as it taught us to become independent, a crucial component when going away to college. We had to schedule meetings with our high school guidance counselors and the Montco (Montgomery County Community College) advisers. We had to be responsible for obtaining the necessary textbook vouchers, receiving the textbooks from the campus store, and making sure we could still be on time for our classes at the high school. Through making sure the textbooks were returned, earning academic grades at both the high school and the college were at least a B, we also learned how to be accountable.
By giving the high school students a glimpse of what college level courses are going to be like, the Foundation is setting the students up for success. Throughout the program, students are also able to explore and find out what career pathways interest them. It gives them the opportunity to develop the skills, mindset, and intelligence for the jobs, positions such as nurses, writers, engineers, scientists, and doctors, they are looking to obtain in the future.
The high school guidance counselors, the Montco advisors, the administration from the Foundation, Ms. Ellis, and Mrs. McCoy were all incredible supporters of the cohorts throughout the program. With their support, the students were able to obtain up to 30 college credits. Many of the students are able to transfer these credits to their universities and colleges, and already have a head start towards their degrees. The students attending Montgomery County Community College after high school are already halfway completed their education.
The program was an extraordinary opportunity for the Pottstown High School students and I encourage the future generations to apply for this program. On behalf of the Early College Program Cohort of the Pottstown High School Class of 2017, we would like to thank all supporters and the Foundation for Pottstown Education for their commitment towards our future success.”