Desmond Harley didn’t expect to find himself in a college classroom during his summer vacation. After all, as a student at Millikan High School in Long Beach, he’s still a few years away from graduation in 2021. But when his mom told him about CPIE’s Pre-College Summer Academy, he found some pretty good reasons to show up on campus this past June and July.

Through a partnership with the Long Beach Unified School District, Pre-College Summer Academy courses are free. Plus, the dual-enrollment credits are transfer-able to many higher education institutions. Getting a head start on college, Harley chose Essentials of Public Speaking, one of the three courses available.

“So far, I’ve learned how to communicate ideas easier, how to structure speeches, and how to deliver them,” Harley explained. 

“The class definitely feels different from a high school class, and you can tell stuff is moving faster than normal. The challenge is still there, but it’s not as difficult as I thought it was going to be.”

The Pre-College Summer Academy debuted in 2018, inspired by the Long Beach College Promise to support the city’s students. The Public Speaking course, along with math and theatre classes, is provided through a partnership between CPIE and the College of Liberal Arts, College of the Arts, and College of Science and Mathematics at CSULB.

Now that he’s had a taste of the college life, Harley is ready to convince his high school classmates that they can spend their next vacation getting ahead too.

“Even though this takes up time during the summer,” he said, “the benefits are worth it.”


Filed under Student Profiles


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