Summit at Summit gathering promotes community, planning for college for Early College students

ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - A student in Summit Learning Charters Early College program talks with a representative from Boeing during the schools annual Summit at Summit event.

When students in Summit Learning Charter's Early College program gathered last week, it was the first many of them had spent time together as a group.

"The feedback we get is (the Early College Program) is such a great offering, but we wish we could all get them together," said Sean Gallagher, principal of Summit Learning Charter.

This wish recently became a reality at the second annual Summit at Summit, held Friday, Oct. 26, at Langdon Farms Golf Club in Aurora.

The Early College program operated by the Eagle Creek-based charter school allows students to earn credits at community colleges while completing their high school requirements. Of the 400 students across the state in the program, 55 attended Friday's event to connect with fellow students, Summit staff and representatives from colleges and employers.

Gallagher noted that building community was a significant element of the event.ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - A representative from Concordia University talks with a student in the Summit Learning Charter Early College Program.

"This is the first time a lot of the students have met and intermingled. They may sit in the same class together and not know they're both Early College students. Hopefully they'll mingle and recognize faces from their Calculus class," Gallagher said. "That's a big part of our heart. We don't want students to feel isolated."

He added that these

connections are valuable given the nontraditional na-

ture of the Early College program.

"It's a chance to reassure (students that they are) in a unique learning environment, and there are other kids like them," Gallagher said. "Today's event is about meeting each other, and it's also about connecting with college and career readiness."

Students appreciated many elements of the day, which included presentations on ways to apply for college and financial aid, along with the opportunity to meet with representatives from the University of Oregon, George Fox University, Concordia University, Boeing, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and several other organizations.

Josh Schleincher, a tenth-grader at Portland Community College, said he was looking forward to connect-

ing with universities at the event.

He appreciates the Early College program.

"College is more my style. It suits me," he said,

Chloe Hardman, an 11th-grader attending Clackamas Community College was interested in "seeing other people that are doing the program."

Chava Wolin, a 12th-grader at Portland Community College, noted that she would give a speech during the event about the fears she had entering the Early College program and how she overcame them.

"It was a new space where I didn't know anyone,"

she said. "This program is really great. The people here are wonderful. We're all here to learn and share knowledge."

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