Prepping for the Pride


Elizabeth Rodriguez, Staff Writer

High school students from around the area are enjoying some of the same classes that Texas A&M University – Commerce freshmen are taking with a new program called Pride Prep.

New to the university this semester, Pride Prep provides dual credit classes to high school students from Commerce, Boles, and Lone Oak. This semester, the 15 students involved are taking History 1302.

“This program is really special because it’s open to freshman through seniors in high school, not just upperclassmen,” Erin Swinson, Director of Innovation Strategies and Special Projects, said.

Students who begin the Pride Prep program their freshman year of high school and follow through to their senior year will potentially earn up to 36 hours of college credit before high school graduation.

“Our hope is that students will continue with this program as a cohort and graduate together with a lot of credits under their belt,” Swinson said. “Pride Prep is also a great recruiting tool for A&M – Commerce, but ultimately we just want the students to take that next step and apply to college.”

Students had to go through a rigorous application process before being accepted into the Pride Prep program, which included an essay, interview, and TSI scores.

“We found that all of the students who applied were really driven and mature, and were doing this not because of their parents, but because they wanted the challenge,” Swinson said. “Once more people know about this program, the application process is going to become very competitive.”

Originally, the program was going to be STEM-focused, but in order to appeal to a larger group of students, a wide range of basic classes will be provided, including English, math, economics, and political science.

“The classes will provide credits that will be easily transferred to the student’s college, as well as easily applied to whatever major they choose,” Swinson said.

Pride Prep classes are currently held at Commerce High School, but when the students are seniors, they will have the opportunity to take classes on the A&M – Commerce campus.

“We want to give these students the full college experience and being able to travel to campus and take a class with other college students would really do that,” Swinson said.

In addition to college credit, Pride Prep is also providing guidance beyond high school.

“We not only try to get the students involved at A&M – Commerce, but we also add that extra step by having somebody from the One Stop Shop go to Commerce High School to talk about career readiness, SAT and ACT prep, and other services that will only support their continuation into college,” Swinson said.

Although the students overall success is the main goal of Pride Prep, another main objective is creating a partnership with Commerce schools.

“Pride Prep is linking the community with the college, which is a main goal of ours,” Swinson said. “We hope that this program thrives and does great things for Commerce High School and the university.”