FITCHBURG — For Sizer School Senior Olly Durrett of Fitchburg, the decision about what to do after graduation came down to practicality and passion.
“I made my college decision by taking into consideration the cost of the school, the convenience, and hearing about how great the Film/Video program is at Fitchburg State University,” said Durrett. “As an Early College High School student, I’ve received many opportunities. I’ve been accepted to Fitchburg State University, and I am enrolled for the Fall 2023 semester. My major is already declared at Fitchburg State University, and it is Communications & Media Studies, with a focus in Film/Video.”
Durrett is one of many Sizer Seniors graduating this May who will be starting out their next chapters with college credits and experience already under their belts.
“The ECHS program allows juniors and seniors to take free college courses and gain on-campus college experience,” explained College & Career Access Counselor and ECHS/Dual Enrollment Advisor Jessica Burris. “Sizer School and Fitchburg State have one of the most unique EC partnerships — after taking Writing 1 & 2 their junior year as a cohort, program participants can choose anything from the University’s catalog during their senior year! They are not limited by specific choices, only by prerequisites – and there are many courses that have little to no prerequisite requirements.”
Burris added, “In Olly’s case, students can also take summer college courses that are fully funded through the ECHS program.”
ECHS helps students navigate the college world before even applying to college. As Burris explained, “Students experience that ‘high school to college’ transition period before even graduating high school, allowing them to explore higher education institution opportunities without committing to college expenses.”
Durrett says the opportunity has been hugely impactful.
“I am eternally grateful that I have the opportunity to take college classes for free. Once I leave high school I will have 5 classes already completed, and I’ll have to pay significantly less money,” said Durrett.
“A lot of high schools set a very specific path for all high school students to follow, but I feel like Sizer has allowed me to discover myself a lot more than a traditional high school would,” he added. “[Sizer] allowed me room to grow and feel supported by my peers and teachers.”
Durrett’s passion for filmmaking goes beyond the classroom. Durrett also participates in The Fresh Films Weekly Filmmaking Program. Fresh Films gives teens 13-19 the opportunity to learn filmmaking skills and work alongside professionals from Sony Pictures, Paramount and the Roku Channel. Durrett hopes his involvement with Fresh Films will open doors to future internships.
“In the future, I am hoping to do something involving the behind-the-scenes of filmmaking, such as editing, camera operating, lighting, or something else. I am hoping Fitchburg State can help me narrow down what I would like to do once I am finished with college,” said Durrett.
Sizer School’s hands-on, experiential classroom lessons and personalized education help send graduates into the world who think for themselves, care about themselves and others and act creatively and responsibly.
Olly adds, “To anyone who will be a senior soon, I wish you all the best of luck in achieving your goals in the years leading up to it. Know that everything does not need to be decided just yet!”