Ra’anaa Clarke Finds Focus at TRMC

Ra’anaa Clarke Finds Focus at TRMC
Posted on 01/30/2020
Ra'anaa Clarke

Goals for a successful career never seemed as clear – or as attainable – as they do for Ra’anaa Clarke.

She has college aspirations, with the goal of earning a degree in clinical psychology, and working with a community that needs her help. She is ambitious and excited about her future, and is grateful to Three Rivers Middle College (TRMC) for helping her find her focus.

Ra’anaa, 17, of New London, displays the grit it takes to be successful at TRMC. She may be a high school senior, but the school’s expectations are the same as those for any college student, including fulfilling class time, science labs, research papers, and hours of reading and studying. Hard work has its rewards, though; she is on track to graduate with more than 30 college credits earned, all without spending a cent on college tuition.

“This school has been an amazing opportunity,” Ra’anaa says. “Not only have I earned significant college credits, but I’ve had the chance to grow as a person and as a student.”

At TRMC, students are empowered to be college- and career-ready and encouraged to become creative problem solvers and independent lifelong learners.  It was an adjustment for Ra’anaa, who previously attended a technical high school and needed time to respond to heightened expectations and workload.

“TRMC forced me to grow up,” Ra’anaa says. “I wasn’t ready when I started here, but the teachers gave me the support I needed, helped me set goals, and encouraged me to work harder.”

Students like Ra’anaa are indicative of what it takes to succeed at TRMC, says Principal Brad Columbus. When a student first enters the school, there is an emphasis on developing good habits and learning how to be a college student. Once they establish the necessary skills, students can focus on earning college credits and taking on a tougher course load.

“As a school, we work hard to build positive self-efficacy in our students and Ra'anaa thrived in that environment,” Columbus says. “She knew we believed in her. Once she trusted the process, she was ready to take on college classes.”

Ra’anaa keeps piling up successes. She made the college Dean’s List in the fall and is eager to continue toward her goal of a college degree, with a support network among her teachers and fellow students backing her the whole way.

“I don’t think I would have taken college or my future as seriously without the influence of Three Rivers Middle College,” she says.

LEARN operates the school for 11th and 12th graders on Three Rivers Community College campus, where students receive college and career preparation and enroll in for credit courses taught by college professors.

LEARN’s Family of Schools is celebrating National School Choice Week from Monday, January 27 through Saturday, February 1. This week celebrates the many school choice options available to families and students seeking a path that supports their educational interests and pursuits. LEARN operates seven public magnet schools in southeastern and central Connecticut, each offering unique themes and curricula.
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