ACROSS THE COMMONS > April 2011 issue home page

Across the Commons


First Early College graduates
prepare for commencement

“Early College was such a good opportunity for me; it already has prepared me for a better future," says Twa’Nysha Davis, who, on May 7, 2011, will become the first member of her family to earn a college degree.

Eighteen-year-old Davis will receive an associate degree in criminal justice technology from UA, less than a week after she and 62 fellow classmates become the first graduates of The University of Akron’s Summit College and Akron Public Schools Akron Early College High School (AECHS) on May 1.

Early College graduate

Big month: When Twa’Nysha Davis graduates in May, she will earn a high school diploma from the Early College High School and an associate's degree from Summit College. She will be the first member of her family to earn a college degree.

The pioneering AECHS launched at UA in fall 2007 to allow promising Akron Public Schools students, such as Davis, to advance to an academically rigorous program upon their completion of middle school. Akron Early College High School enables students to earn an associate degree or up to two years of college credits toward a bachelor’s degree, free of charge.

AECHS received a designation of “Excellent” on its 2009-10 report card issued by the state of Ohio and is one of three district public schools recognized as a “School of Promise” by the Ohio Department of Education for demonstrating substantial progress in ensuring high achievement for students.

Davis is proof positive. She is one of 16 AECHS students to receive an associate degree next month.

An all-A student throughout elementary and intermediate school, Davis says being accepted to AECHS after she graduated from Goodrich Middle School was a “blessing.” She candidly admits her four years did not come without challenges, “but I always knew I’d make it through because I’ve always been a stickler for work,” she says.

The oldest of seven children in her family, Davis says she sees promising futures for her younger siblings and she intends to set the example. Without delay, Davis plans continue her college education and return to the University next fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in emergency management. Concurrently, she will mentor area children through her new job with City Year, guiding students as a tutor and role model.

Meanwhile, Davis reflects on her own role models, lessons learned and values ingrained at AECHS.

The experience of attending college classes was so awesome to me,” says Davis. “I always knew I was in a good position and came to class prepared and ready to learn. The professors at The University of Akron were inspirational. I don’t know where I would be without this opportunity.”