Students flex academic muscle in Pasadena Early College High School

10.24.2013 | By Jeannie Peng-Armao

Angelica Salas and Jocelyn Leon are two of seven Pasadena Early College High School (PECHS) students to receive an invitation to the San Jacinto College Honors program. The PECHS students exceeded this year’s state average on the STAAR exam. Photo credit: Jeannie Peng-Armao, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.

Students flex academic muscle in Pasadena Early College High School

Jeannie Peng-Armao -- October 24, 2013



PASADENA, Texas – Pasadena Early College High School (PECHS) students are proving that they have what it takes for college, significantly exceeding the state average on the STAAR exam in every subject and achieving a 92 percent college success rate.

The 2013 STAAR results revealed that the PECHS students achieved a 100 percent pass rate in algebra I, algebra II, geometry, and chemistry. They also achieved a 90 percent pass rate in reading, 91 percent in world geography, and 98 percent in biology.

"They go into that test understanding what is at stake," said Jaynie Mitchell, director of dual credit at the San Jacinto College Central Campus. "Their entire program is based on academic excellence. They have an early college high school located on their high school campus; they have tutors; and they visit the San Jacinto College campus to increase their college knowledge.”

Yet, working for both an associate degree and high school diploma at the same time comes with some sacrifice, and a student who decides to enter an early college high school is signing up for a rigorous curriculum to go after, what is for many, the family’s first college degree.

"I did not participate in volleyball and orchestra this year so that I could focus more on my academics," said Brenda Escobar, a budding journalist and one of seven PECHS students to receive an invite to the San Jacinto College Honors program. "This year, I knew it would be more busy, more work. To prepare for our test, we met a couple of times each week to study."

Cynthia Maldonado, who was also invited to the Honors program, and who hopes to one day work in medical research, said the sacrifices will translate into a career, complete with home ownership.

"My parents say that I will have a better future and will be able to buy a house," said Maldonado.

Out of the 190 PECHS student population, 81 percent are first generation college-goers, with 85 percent economically disadvantaged. The Pasadena Independent School District (ISD) provides the tuition, fees, transportation, and textbooks for all of the college classes. The first PECHS graduating class is set for 2015.

For San Jacinto College Board of Trustees member, Mrs. Marie Flickinger, offering an early college high school in Pasadena helps families see their children’s educational dreams come true.

"We have always felt that there are students in Pasadena who have what it takes to pursue their associate degrees while in high school," said Mrs. Flickinger. "As a college that serves the community, it was up to us to provide a way for them to showcase their academic talent."

San Jacinto College is home to three early college high schools, the Pasadena Early College High School through Pasadena ISD, Clear Horizons Early College High School through Clear Creek ISD, and Sheldon Early College High School through Sheldon ISD.

The early college high schools are just one example of the College’s commitment to students in the independent school districts. In addition, San Jacinto College offers many dual credit opportunities throughout the service area that allow students to take courses that earn both college and high school credit at a discounted rate.

Eighth-grade students from Pasadena intermediate schools, zoned to the Pasadena High School, may find out more information about the Pasadena Early College High School application process from their school counselors.

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150 or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.