The Meriden Center Launches New Eighth Grade Enrichment Academy

The Meriden Center of Middlesex Community College has “accepted” more than 25 new students – all eighth graders from Meriden. These high-achieving students from Lincoln and Washington Middle schools have been selected to be part of the new program known as the Eighth Grade Enrichment Academy at The Meriden Center, which was created in collaboration with the Meriden Public Schools. The academy, which consists of two sets of different workshops taught by MxCC instructors, runs from 9 a.m. to 12 noon every Saturday from March 3 – June 2.

The first set of workshops will be “Mystery Writing” with Cindy Warm and “The Nervous System and the Senses,” taught Michael Lavoie. The second set of workshops will be “Rockin’, Bloggin’ Poetry” with Lynn Patarini, and “The Beauty of Geometry” taught by Elizabeth Salgado.

In addition to academically challenging these students, the Academy was created to allow middle school students to experience first-hand what a college environment is like. MxCC hopes that by helping these young students become more familiar to college, they will be encouraged to apply for and attend college after high school.

“Middlesex Community College and our faculty are thrilled to be teaming up with the Meriden Public Schools to provide these eighth graders with such a unique and enrichment program,” said Dr. Adrienne Maslin, MxCC Dean of Students. “More and more, educators understand that the earlier we can help students learn about college and provide them with college-like experiences, the more likely they are to enroll in college.”

A recent report issued by the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education and the Connecticut State Department of Education (http://www.ctregents.org/files/pdfs/p20/NSC_report_2004_FINAL.pdf), states that only 67 – 73 percent of Connecticut’s 2009 high school graduates actually enrolled in college. In Meriden, approximately 29 percent of 2004 graduates from the two high schools have since graduated from college. Awareness programs such as this academy will hopefully help improve these statistics.

“This academy is an exceptional opportunity to allow some of our best students to enjoy this early exposure to college, to learn from college-level instructors, and to engage in fun and challenging courses,” said Dr. Mark Benigni, Meriden Public Schools superintendent. “We thank Middlesex Community College and The Meriden Center for being a terrific partner with our schools, students and families.”

Founded in 1966, Middlesex Community College (mxcc.edu) is part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities Board of Regents for Higher Education. The school offers more than 50 degree or certificate programs at its three locations: the main, 38-acre campus in Middletown, the downtown Meriden Center, and the shoreline in Old Saybrook. The college promotes understanding, learning, ethics, and self-discipline by encouraging critical thinking. Current enrollment exceeds 2,875 full and part-time students, and 1,600 continuing education students.