Three Pioneer students get head start on college path

  • Pioneer Valley Regional School graduate Krishana Facto smiles to her friends and family during an early graduation ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. In the background are her fellow graduates, Anna McClure and Ni'Kole McConley, and Pioneer Principal Jean Bacon, speaking. —Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

  • Pioneer Valley Regional School history teacher Aimee Brown speaks about early graduate Anna McClure (middle) during an early graduation ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. McClure's fellow graduates, at right, are Ni'Kole McConley and Krishana Facto. —Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

Recorder Staff
Saturday, February 10, 2018

NORTHFIELD – Three Pioneer Valley Regional School students did something that hasn’t been done in decades: graduate early.

An early graduation ceremony was held Thursday in Pioneer’s library for Krishana Facto, Anna McClure and Ni’Kole McConley, who all received the 118 credits needed to graduate a semester early.

History teacher Aimee Brown, who’s been at Pioneer for about 20 years, said she couldn’t remember there being an early graduation ceremony before now.

The student behind the ceremony was McClure, who researched the student handbook and found it was possible to graduate early. She then approached guidance counselor Peggy Fallon, who helped her develop a class schedule that would earn her remaining credits and got her request to graduate early approved by the School Committee.

“I was bored with school,” said McClure, who became a dual enrollment student at Greenfield Community College to help satisfy her needed credits. “It didn’t challenge me.”

Facto and McConley followed suit, also with plans to attend GCC.

“I thought graduating early would be the best path for me because I want to go into the nursing program at GCC,” McConley said.

“I wanted to get a head start,” Facto agreed. “That’s why I took dual enrollment, but I noticed I could do even more.”

All three said they’ll start their higher education at GCC immediately: Facto in biology, McConley in nursing and McClure in liberal arts.

McConley said she plans to transfer to a bachelor’s program and ultimately become a surgeon, while McClure will transfer to Middlesex Community College to become a paralegal. Facto said she plans to ultimately be in college for eight years, becoming a veterinary technician after graduating from Holyoke Community College and later becoming a veterinarian for small animals and wildlife.

After listening to speeches about each student’s time at Pioneer from faculty, and after the diplomas were awarded, the three gathered with friends and family for a reception in the library and plenty of group photos.

Reach Shelby Ashline at: sashline@recorder.com

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