WHITE PLAINS – It has been more than a year since Stepinac High School launched its unique Honors Academy, an intensive learning program for academically high-achieving students to pursue intensive studies in either engineering, health sciences (medicine) and science, law or economics and finance.
The ﬁrst-of-its-kind in the region, Stepinac’s Honors Academy is a three-year personalized small learning program, designed to expose students to advanced study in academic disciplines leading to potential careers. “It fosters the development of skills needed to become globally competitive at the college level and beyond,” said Paul Carty, Principal.
To qualify for acceptance into the Honors Academy, students in their freshmen year need a cumulative average of 90% or higher and are required to apply with the knowledge and support of their parents.
Last year, the inaugural group of Honors Academy members (all members of the Class of 2019) were invited to select one of the following academies including sampling of courses offered):
ENGINEERING: Thermodynamics, Robotics, Electronics, Architecture, Java Script, HTML5, Software Engineering & Design
HEALTH SCIENCES (MEDICINE): Biochemistry, Microbiology & Disease, Genetics, Anatomy & Physiology, Bio Ethics, Exercise and Food Science
LAW: Legal Reading & Research, Legal Writing, Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Business Law, Criminal Law
ECONOMICS AND FINANCE: History of Economics & Business, Investment Banking— Finance: Corporate, Personal and Global, The Tools of Wall Street, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics.
One of the Honor Academy’s primary goals is to empower students to see the relationship between their academy studies and their application to the real world as illustrated by the following sampling of unique learning experiences that the inaugural group of students were exposed to last year. They included field trips to best practice firms and presentations by experts in each of the disciplines:
After visiting Mt. Sinai Hospital where he heard Dr. Sameer Sheth, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Neurological Surgery, talk about the path he took to become a cardiologist and his experience at medical school, Peter Astriab of Yonkers, member of the Academy of Health Sciences, said: “It was interesting to hear the doctor say he wished he had a program like ours when he was in high school.”
Nolan DeFreitas of Peekskill noted, “It was very helpful to get an idea from a professional engineer about the academic requirements for pursuing engineering in college,” following a video conference he and other members of the Academy of Engineers participated in with Stepinac alumnus George Kandilou ’08), project engineer with Turner Construction.
Alex Brenlla of Yonkers, member of the Academy of Law, stated after visiting law firms and court rooms, “I was able to see first-hand “real world” situations and settings that cannot be simulated in a classroom.”
And, as a member of the Academy of Economics and Finance, Colin Sharkey of Yonkers, related, “It has been interesting to study how the market economy came into being and how it changed all aspects of life — economic, political, social and cultural.”
Each Honors Academy student is assigned a faculty mentor as well as an outside mentor. The program culminates in the senior year with an internship and a final capstone research project and presentation that will be designed to encourage students to think critically and develop the skills that will help prepare them for college, careers and adult life.
Upon completion of the three-year program, students will receive a special distinction on their diplomas to indicate graduation from The Honors Academy. “In an increasingly competitive college admissions market, it is important that Stepinac continues its path of innovative learning to ensure students remain highly competitive and prepared at the post-secondary level,” Carty added.
In addition to the inaugural group, the Stepinac Honors Academy announced over the past summer the selection of 34 new students who have begun their journey of extensive studies as part of the Honor Academy’s plan of selecting inductees from the freshman class every year.
The Honors Academy continues Stepinac’s tradition of shaping future leaders. It follows the ground-breaking personalized blended learning platform including the first-of-its-kind all digital text book library that established Stepinac as a standard bearer of curriculum innovation by educators across the nation and overseas.