Whittier Tech Graduate Matos Says Early College Benefits Greater Than Just Tuition Savings

Whittier Tech alumna Akira Matos, class of 2022, speaks to students in the school’s Early College Program. (Courtesy photograph.)

A 2022 graduate of Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School returned to the school over the last two weeks, offering testimonials on the benefits of the Early College program beyond tuition savings.

Akira Matos, who studied Metal Fabrication at Whittier, addressed 12 classes of Early College students on Fridays, Jan. 6 and 13. She graduated last year with 18 college credits and is expected to graduate from Northern Essex Community College with her associate’s degree this fall.

Matos, of Haverhill, reminded students those in Early College are considered Northern Essex students and may take advantage of many college resources, including academic coaching, mental health supports, attending athletic events and job search assistance.

“Akira’s success is a testament to her hard work in high school and college, as well as the many benefits that the Early College program offers to students,” Superintendent Maureen Lynch said.

After graduation from Northern Essex, Matos plans to transfer to UMass Amherst to obtain her bachelor’s in biology through the MassTransfer Program. She spoke of the benefits of MassTransfer, which allowed her guaranteed admission to UMass Amherst without any fees or completing application essays.

The Early College Program creates a pipeline for Whittier Tech juniors and seniors to obtain college credits at no cost through classes taught at Whittier by Northern Essex Community College instructors.

Matos is a member of the Early College Policy Fellowship of the Massachusetts Alliance for Early College. The Alliance seeks to increase the number of students with access to Early College.

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