Brushton-Moira Central School was one of 20 North County and northern Vermont high schools to be selected to participate in a $1.5 million college and career readiness program. Evan Wheaton/Malone Telegram

BRUSHTON — Brushton-Moira Central School has been selected as one of the schools participating in a $1.5 million college and career readiness program.

The College for Every Student Brilliant Pathways Program yielded 72 applications, and will be offered to 15 North County and five northern Vermont high schools.

Brushton-Moira is one of the schools that will participate in the North Country Brilliant Pathways program, which was newly launched by CFES Brilliant Pathways, a college and career readiness nonprofit organization based in Essex.

The organization’s initiative is designed to help rural students enter college and excel in their studies, according to McClelland.

McClelland said deciding what schools to include in the program was difficult, explaining the organization received quality applications across the board, adding the schools selected for the program demonstrated a need, and a strong commitment to partnering with CFES, to make sure the program is successful.

“It was a really hard process. We had 72 really complete applications and it took a lot of time, and a lot of Zoom meetings to decide,” McClelland said, “All the schools that applied definitely would have benefited from this program.” McClelland said the college and career readiness program works to provide opportunities for students to visit college campuses, in addition to partnerships and networking opportunities with businesses and colleges.

“It provides them with a hybrid approach as they prepare to take the next step to college or their careers,” McClelland said, “There are a lot of virtual opportunities but we also want to provide the experience of visiting a campus, at four-year or two-year institutions.”

McClelland said the college and career readiness program works to provide schools with a multi-faceted approach to help increase the number of rural students, who consider attending college.

“I have had a lot of people ask me what statistic we are trying to improve here,” McClelland said, “The graduation rates are high but not as many students are continuing on to college, and we want to expose them to additional experiences, providing them with the opportunity to look at different options before they take the next step in their lives after high school.”

McClelland said the program looks to provide students with mentors and opportunities they are not always exposed to in a rural setting.

One such opportunity is mentoring opportunities from contractors who work with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

“They have an opportunity to work with contractors who work with NASA, especially for students in a rural setting that is a great experience” McClelland said.

McClelland said the program connects schools to a dedicated professional program director, in addition to professional development and enrichment opportunities for educators.

Other area schools selected for the program include Northern Adirondack High School in Ellenburg Depot, and Tupper Lake Middle High School, in addition to four high schools in St. Lawrence County.

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