HCC president Christina Royal helped welcome high school students back to school at a BBQ and resource fair at Dean Technical High School.
Holyoke Community College president Christina Royal last week called the college's partnership with Holyoke Public Schools "absolutely critical" and urged students at the city's Dean Technical High School to continue their educations, no matter where they ultimately go.
"Of course, we want you to think about Holyoke Community College if you're going to pursue post-secondary education," said Royal, one of the guest speakers Friday at a Welcome Back BBQ and Resource Fair at Dean, "but I want to give you a message about education in general."
"I believe education is transforming," she continued. "It doesn't matter what kind of education you get, what kind of pathway you choose - pursue education. Because, having an open mind, exploring creative outlets, finding your sources of innovation, that will come as you expose yourselves to different experiences and different people along the way."
Royal urged students to use their time in school to focus on finding their passion.
"Ultimately," she said, "whatever pathway you choose, if you're passionate about it, that's what's going to lead to a successful and happy life."
Holyoke Community College was one of the sponsors of last week's Welcome Back BBQ and Resource Fair, which was brought about 300 people to the school for food, fun and other festivities. The event was geared for 10th, 11th and 12th graders and their families and featured representatives from some 20 community organizations.
Royal was introduced to the crowd by state Rep. Aaron Vega from Holyoke.
"I'm very proud to say we have a very strong partnership with Holyoke Public Schools," said Royal, who cited dual enrollment programs like Gateway to College as one successful pathway between the public schools and HCC.
"The partnership we have is absolutely critical to ensure that we can help foster your success here and help foster success at whatever your next destination is," she said.
PHOTOS by CHRIS YURKO: HCC president Christina Royal talks to students at Dean Technical High School in Holyoke Friday, Sept. 1.