College during high school?

The Early College Academy offered at Hoover High School can direct students toward a successful future providing them with a beneficial head-start.

College during high school?

By Lara Ghalustians and Celia Hovespian

Imagine having the opportunity to graduate with your high school and associate degree at once. Sounds impossible right? Fortunately, there is a path that students can take to achieve that goal. Hoover High School students have the ability to join a program through Glendale Community College called the Early College Academy- otherwise known as ECA.

 ECA became a possibility for Hoover in August of 2019. This was because Hoover’s administration made it possible to build a partnership with the ECA staff at GCC. Students may potentially complete 45 credits for college, which gives them a chance to save both time and money since it is a free program. 

Students interested can only apply the second semester of their freshman year. When done so, the ECA committee will look over their applications to enroll them in the program. Once they’re admitted, the classes will begin during their sophomore year. If the student plans on attending AP classes, they are more than welcome to, as long as it does not interfere with the ECA  course.

Pateel Eulmessekian, an educational assistant for ELD classrooms at Hoover who is also the educational advisor for Early College Academy, is impressed with the students devotion to the classes. Even with the struggles of the current pandemic, students have continued pushing through and completing all assignments. 

“Our new group of sophomores have certainly impressed me with their commitment to the program during distance learning,” Eulmessekian said. “Our juniors, who are in their second year of ECA, have really shown a great depth of resilience and perseverance.”

First Cohort students who joined this program have also given their perspective on their experience. Osana Gaspar, a junior at Hoover and First Cohort of ECA, has been getting used to distance learning due to the CoronaVirus. 

“I was a bit worried about my GCC class that I was taking at the time we first switched,” Gaspar said. “Fortunately, our professor held zoom calls explaining each lesson. It was like we were in the classroom, but just more comfortable since we were at home.”

Meg Chil-Gevorkyan, the program manager for ECA, has led and organized this program successfully, even through the COVID changes.

“We were able to overcome the challenges with COVID because of the strong support built into the program,” Chil-Gevorkyan said. 

The Early College Academy has positively contributed to students’ high school experience. “… it gives you a boost of confidence that you are able to juggle all these classes at the same time,” Adrina Dilbandyan, a junior at Hoover and First Cohort of ECA, said. 

Dilbandyan also said that the professors “taught in an empathetic manner to not overwhelm us” as they were well aware that their students were not familiar with the loads of work that college students normally have to tackle.

To relieve some of the stress at the end of the week, Eulmessekian created “Comedy Thursday” in which students can watch funny videos to finish the week filled with hard work on a cheerful note. This allows students to have a relaxing class period.  

“I think it is extremely beneficial for the students’ future because they can start thinking about college, about their futures, about possibilities that are waiting for them,” Eulmessekian said.