Graduating as part of Early College High School’s legacy class put Andrew Cordero on the fast track towards a masters degree and a career. After accumulating 81 college credits and a high school diploma in 2011, Cordero enrolled at Texas State University, where he will complete his bachelors degree in criminal justice later this year.
A record 300 graduates walked at the Texas State Technical College Harlingen (TSTC) commencement this weekend, including 24 from Early College High School (ECHS) seniors. The ECHS is part of the TSTC campus that provides collaborative curriculum to integrate the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District (HCISD) education with tuition-free college courses. ECHS students simultaneously work toward a high school diploma while taking tuition-free TSTC courses they may apply to graduation from a TSTC program or complete an Academic Core certificate at TSTC for up to 60 credits transferable to any four-year public university in Texas.
Early College High School (ECHS) seniors who participate in the Texas State Technical College Harlingen (TSTC) commencement will fill more seats at the TSTC commencement than the first group of ECHS graduates. Seventeen ECHS seniors attended the TSTC graduation in 2011 and 24 ECHS seniors are set for the 2012 ceremony.
Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District celebrated the achievements of Early College High School, Harlingen High School and Harlingen High School South Friday and Saturday nights. Graduation weekend commenced Friday night at Harlingen Municipal Auditorium for ECHS, where the school's first graduating class took the stage.
By Dave Ralph, TSTC Communications WriterSeventeen Early College High School seniors stood out – despite wearing identical black caps and black gowns like their 209 peers – among graduates at the Texas State Technical College Harlingen spring commencement.The 17 special graduates earned college diplomas about one month before their separate high school graduation thanks to tuition-free dual enrollment credits from TSTC. The Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District opened the fledgling (the school’s mascot is the Owl) ECHS on the TSTC campus in fall 2007. Public schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Flores delivered the TSTC commencement address April 29 and he met with the ECHS graduates April 26 to discuss their education – past, present and future.
While the other graduates dressed in red and green gowns during the summer graduation ceremony, Daniela Davila sat in the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District board room wearing black.The outfit was not an act of defiance. She wore a black cap and gown because she did not graduate from Harlingen High School or Harlingen High School South like her peers. Instead of being a cardinal or a hawk, Davila graduated an owl, as in the Early College High School owls.“I come from a low-income family, so paying for college was a concern,” Davila said. “I basically received two years of college for free because Early College High School paid for my classes and my books. It meant a lot to me to have the opportunity.”As a student of ECHS, which opened its doors in 2007, Davila received college credit while earning her high school diploma through a dual enrollment program with Texas State Technical College.ECHS’s first graduating class will finish in May 2011. Davila decided to graduate early when a counselor told her she only need two credits last spring, she said.After beginning her high school career at HHS, a middle school friend asked Davila to apply to ECHS. She thought she would give the new campus a try, intrigued by the prospect of accumulating college credit.