By Willie R. Cole
Brookhaven College and Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District can wave their banners proudly because the Early College High School program received the “Blue Ribbon Award” for the 2013-2014 school year. The 2014 class of the ECHS has been recognized for its academic excellence as one of the Blue Ribbon High Schools in America. Schools that perform at exemplary levels for that school year are presented with the award. Of more than 98,000 schools in America, 337 were recognized, and among them, 48 were high schools.
ECHS is a partnership developed between Brookhaven and CFB ISD that was created in 2006. The program has proven very successful. The ECHS program started with fewer than 80 students, but can now admit up to 400 students. The main goal of the program is to lower the dropout rate and increase high school graduation, according to the Brookhaven website.
The program targets students in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch area who are economically disadvantaged, have a high risk of dropping out of high school or have poor test scores, according to the ECHS CFB ISD website. The high school part of the program is located in P Building, and the college courses are taught on the Brookhaven campus.
The success of the 2014 class is one of national merit. Jose Carpio was recognized as a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship, and James Peters scored in the top 3 percent on the PSAT. James Javier Cervantes was awarded an Austin College Founders Scholarship worth $64,000, and the class valedictorian, Sergio Octavio Martinez, received a Harvard Faculty Scholarship for $233,000. By the end of the 2014 school year, ECHS had been awarded $1,148,318 in scholarships. A celebration is scheduled for December, with a date to be announced.