Students from the first ever graduating class at Delaware State University’s Early College High School receive their diplomas Tuesday.
The four-year-old charter school is the only school in the state integrating high school students into college level courses on a university campus.
School Director Evelyn Edney says despite some inherent challenges, this education model has been successful thus far.
“When they first come to us they’re raw, they’re in ninth grade, they’re really eighth graders just a couple months later, and it’s our job in that year or two to literally turn them into college students almost seemingly overnight--which is probably the hardest job I’ve ever had in my life,” said Edney.
ECHS recruits all over Delaware and has students from all three counties represented in its classes. Edney says each freshman class has been larger than the last.
“You know, we started with a ninth grade class and each year in these four years we’ve added on a grade. And so with that comes new logistics. We’ve grown. We’ve outgrown the building we’re in. So our ninth grade are in the original ECHS building. 10, 11 and 12 are actually on campus at DSU,” she said.
71 students make up the historic graduation class. Their commencement ceremony Tuesday is on the DSU campus and features Congresswoman Lisa Blunt-Rochester as keynote speaker.
Edney says all students are planning to continue their education. Many will remain at DSU, while others have been accepted at universities like Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania.