6 Columbia High School Students Complete College Courses Through Kean Scholars Program


Four students were honored for achieving academic excellence on the college level.

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The following is a press release from the South Orange-Maplewood School District;

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. – Six Columbia High School (CHS) students got a head start on college by successfully completing dual enrollment courses through Kean University’s Kean Scholars Academy (KSA) last fall. Four of the students were honored at a special ceremony at Kean University earlier this month for earning A’s in the classes they took.

Juniors Sharon and Sherry Chen, who are twins, and sophomores Naomi Abrams and Essa McGowan were recognized for earning A’s in the U.S. History class they took during the fall semester.

Kennedy Gilyard and Alejandra Agurto, both juniors, also completed KSA courses last semester.

All of the students took a class in United States history. The juniors took an additional class in world literature while the sophomores took an English class.

All six students have earned college credits that will be applied to their undergraduate degrees if they enroll at Kean University. The credits may be transferrable to other colleges, depending on their transfer credit policies.

“I want to congratulate all of our Columbia High School students for rising to the challenge of college-level course work while they are still in high school and acknowledge the outstanding accomplishment of those who earned A’s in these classes,” said Dr. Kevin F. Gilbert, Acting Superintendent of the South Orange and Maplewood School District. “I greatly appreciate our students’ initiative. I thank School Counselor Yolande Fleming and KSA Executive Director Jason Lester for their efforts in making dual enrollment opportunities at Kean University available to our students.”

“Team KSA is extremely proud of our scholars from Columbia High School, they continue to represent the type of youthful leadership needed in this divisive climate we live in today. I have personally found them to be engaging and thoughtful individuals who want the best for their community,” said Jason Lester, Executive Director of Kean Scholar Academy. “I would be remiss if I didn’t give their parents the credit for doing a GREAT job of rearing such awesome young people.”

“Our students who participated in the Kean Scholars Academy have made us very proud,” said CHS School Counselor Yolande Fleming. “More importantly, they now know that they can successfully meet the rigors of college courses and that they can achieve anything they put their minds to when they go to college.”

Fleming added that Sharon and Sherry Chen were two of 20 students enrolled in the program to have perfect attendance in addition to earning A’s in their classes.

Sharon Chen was the only student in the CHS cohort who was able to attend the KSA ceremony on February 3rd. She accepted certificates on behalf of the other students who were awarded them.



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