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Franklin County Tech School to host community college panel Wednesday

TURNERS FALLS — Franklin County Technical School will host its first ever community college panel discussion Wednesday night, and the public is invited to attend.

Originally developed as an informational event for the school’s upperclassmen and parents, school officials decided to expand it for the entire community, said Kim Gangwisch-Marsh, the school’s guidance counselor.

The forum will go from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and will feature representatives from four colleges: Greenfield Community College, Holyoke Community College, Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner and Springfield Technical Community College.

Gangwisch-Marsh said that about 30 percent of the school’s graduates go on to college and many attend these four colleges. She said she routinely recommends community colleges to upperclassmen because of their flexibility, affordability, supportive nature and the diversity of students’ ages and backgrounds.

But they also offer non-credit courses, career training and lifelong learning, she said. And some have now formed partnerships with four-year colleges to offer bachelor’s degree programs on campus.

“I think FCTS shares an educational philosophy with our community colleges,” said Gangwisch-Marsh. “We, too, offer students a solid set of academic, career and technical skills ... to prepare them for, what we see as, a world of opportunity and lifelong learning. Only we do it in a secondary-school setting, helping to pave the way to a variety of post-secondary options.”

You can reach Chris Shores at: cshores@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 264

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