by Greg Cunningham
Collaboration with Bridgewater State and Durfee High leads to a 4-year scholarship
On Saturday, June 26 the Red Sox beat the Yankees 4-2, but the high point of the evening was a pre-game ceremony honoring this year’s Red Sox Scholars. One of the honorees standing on the hallowed turf was Habiba Haji, who graduated from Durfee High School in Fall River after transferring from John D. O’Bryant in Boston. Habiba was a student in JFYNetWorks’ dual enrollment program at Durfee with Bridgewater State University.
Habiba enrolled in dual enrollment/early college courses with both Bridgewater State University and Bristol Community College while at Durfee High. She was an outstanding participant in the JFY/BSU dual enrollment program, which brings college courses into high school enabling students to earn both high school and college credit. The JFY-supported courses are co-taught during the school day by high school teachers and BSU professors. JFYNet prepares students for these courses with its skill-building curricula and supports them in the college courses with concurrent academic assistance. Students develop and demonstrate college-level skills and earn college credits while still in high school. The program builds skills and confidence while reducing the amount of time and cost required for a college degree. Habiba received an early acceptance to Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and was awarded the WPI Presidential Scholarship, providing the full cost of tuition for the next four years—exactly the kind of outcome JFY and the Red Sox envision.
Now in its 19th year, the Red Sox Scholars Program selects 12 Boston Public Schools seventh graders as Red Sox Scholars and awards each a $10,000 college scholarship. They receive academic, professional and social support for at least nine years to ensure that they graduate from college with as little debt as possible and are well prepared to enter the workforce. The program earned Major League Baseball’s first-ever “Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence” in 2010.
Post-secondary education is the most important single determinant of future earnings. More than two-thirds of jobs in Massachusetts require post-secondary training, and that proportion is rising. A two-year degree is worth a quarter-million dollars more in lifetime earnings than a high school diploma, and a four-year degree brings a million more. A one-year technical certificate raises lifetime earnings $133,000. Whatever the credential, post-secondary education is now the ticket to self- and family-sustaining earnings.
Yet even as the opportunity gap between college graduates and non-graduates widens, college enrollments are declining. Community College enrollment was down 20% last year. Fewer than half of Massachusetts high school graduates go on to earn any form of post-secondary credential. Some high school graduates bypass college because they need to work. Others are deterred by the rising cost of higher education. Many high school students don’t think they have the academic skills for further training. The pandemic contributed to last year’s falling enrollments. But whatever the obstacles, young people who do not obtain post-secondary credentials will be at a disadvantage when competing for better jobs and higher incomes, which lead to stable and secure lives.
The Red Sox Scholars and JFYNetWorks both strive to ensure that students find success not only by guiding them into college but also by giving them incentives, support, and a head start to completion of a four-year degree. So far, 325 students have been enrolled in the Red Sox Scholars program. Over 600 students have benefited from JFYNetWorks’ early college collaborations with three higher education partners.
Greg Cunningham left and left, is a JFYNetWorks Learning Specialist. He attended his first Red Sox game in 1978 and has been a season ticket holder since 2004.
On May 14th, Greg was chosen to be the Season Ticket Holder of the Red Sox game.
– Main header image attribute: https://twitter.com/RedSox/status/1408944783284973569/photo/2 and https://twitter.com/RedSoxFund (As of this writing the image has been retweeted 34x.)
– Habiba Haji framed picture: Greg Cunningham
Other posts authored by Greg can be found here.
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