Beth Milne is a past member of the 50CAN team. 

The more early college high schools we visit, the more success stories we hear. Like the story of Tomal Ahmed, who waited most of his young life to emigrate here from Bangladesh. There, access to public education was not guaranteed and college was an impossible dream.

“I didn’t get a chance in my country,” he says. But he’s gotten a chance at International High School, an early college program in Queens where Tomal has been tackling university-level coursework since 10th grade.

Today, you can celebrate programs like International High School by urging your elected officials to give them additional support.

In doing so, you are helping “sustain something at risk,” says Dan Kaplan, who coordinates early college at International High School.

Like other early college programs, International High School works with students who might otherwise struggle to graduate—in this case, recent immigrants, many from low-income households, who are learning English as a second language.

Less than 10 percent drop out. At any given time, 250 students are taking classes at LaGuardia Community College. Graduates have gone to schools like Vassar College, Syracuse University, NYU and Cornell.

“The return on investment is huge,” Kaplan says.

When Tomal arrived in the United States six years ago, he spoke no English. Next year, he plans to enroll at New York City College of Technology and study telecommunications engineering. He’s already earned more than 25 credits toward his degree.

His classmate, Zia Uddin, also from Bangladesh, plans to study computer networking. Sabina Trzeciak, from Poland, will pursue psychology. And Carolain Balanta, from Colombia, plans to study liberal arts at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

She will be the first in her family to earn a degree.

Investing in programs like International High School means investing in the future of New York State, and the bright young people working hard to rise above the status quo. Please celebrate their efforts by writing to your legislators today. 


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