When I interviewed Keylynn Belrose Westfall last year, then a sophomore at Schenectady Smart Scholars Early College High School in Schenectady, New York, she told me that her “future is a priority.” She was on track to graduate early, in her junior year, and that’s just what’s happening for her this month.
While speaking about what’s ahead for her, Westfall reflected on how she got to where she is today, and how grateful she is for the opportunity to attend a Smart Scholars early college high school.
“In seventh grade, I was frustrated in my math class because I felt like I was the only one participating. It was only second quarter, but if I wanted to take advanced math I had to complete everything that my teacher was going to cover for the rest of the year. She gave me a packet that covered everything, and I finished it in a weekend,” said Westfall, who went on to take ninth grade math classes a year early. “I didn’t realize the opportunity they were giving me back then, but they saw the potential in me.”
The early college provided the same level of challenge and support.
“Teachers at the early college aren’t just there to help you decide what class to take. They know you, and what’s going on with you,” Westfall said. Because of her experiences at the early college, she wants to pursue psychology and child social/emotional development to provide the same kind of support she received to others. “I’ve had a strong support system, and I want to help children that have gone through similar experiences, children that are struggling.”