BY MEGAN FIELDS ‘17
DUDLEY, Mass.—Oct. 13, 2016—The Nichols Honors Academy (NHA) is celebrating its third year as a cooperative effort between Nichols College and Webster’s Bartlett High School. Over 25 students were inducted Oct. 12 into the Academy on, joining 50 of their elder peers as the third cohort to be accepted to the program.
The partnership between Bartlett and Nichols launched in 2014 and encourages high school students to pursue higher education through an introduction to college-level courses, activities, and responsibilities. Students interested in the NHA undergo an extensive application process before being accepted. This effort to promote the importance of a college education is made possible by the generosity of Nichols Trustee Emeritus Gerald Fels and his wife, Marilyn Fels, of Webster, Mass.
Bartlett Principal Steve Knowlton and Assistant Principal Rebecca Czernicki commented on the success of the program, citing the requirements that every student enrolled will participate in pre-Advanced Placement (AP) classes, and will eventually go on to take at least one AP class by their junior year.
Referring to the NHA as a “social family,” Knowlton praised the program for “endowing the students with motivation and a sense of identity,” as well as a noted increase in students’ time management skills.
The third cohort—Bartlett freshmen—joined the ranks of the Honors Academy with a ceremony on the Nichols campus. This year’s inductees were joined by their predecessors from the 2015 ceremony, who are currently sophomores and in their second year of the Nichols program.
Each new member of the NHA was gifted a new Chromebook from Nichols to aid them in fulfilling their responsibilities and provide the students with full-time access to technology. In addition, members were provided with Nichols College campus photo identification cards, which allow them access to the College library and events.
While the first-year members enjoyed a tour of campus, the sophomores attended a college class on ethics lead by Professor Mauri Pelto, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs and NHA academic coordinator; and Management Professor and Chair Leonard Samborowski.
Pelto, who was behind the initial efforts to conceive the program, gives credit to the students for taking advantage of the opportunity.
“It’s more about learning than it is test taking,” he said. “Learning is what you know well enough to apply, as opposed to just memorizing the information.”
He favors the hands-on approach for guiding the students, allowing them to take charge and gain a rational understanding of their environment.
Bartlett sophomores Summer Lamprey and John Bsoumai of Webster attest to the effectiveness of the NHA.
Lamprey, who plays soccer and participates in show choir, said: “I was encouraged after seeing my older friends who were already in the program, as well as the academic advantages it offered.”
She credits the program with teaching her time management skills that help her participate in activities during the day while staying focused on homework each night.
Bsoumai joined the program for the advantages he felt it gave him to open doors to college and a career.
“It gives me more opportunities than other options,” he said. “And, instead of being scared when I attend college, I will be experienced.”