NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – President Obama shined the national spotlight on an innovative high school in Brooklyn during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address.
“Now at schools like P-TECH in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York public schools and City University of New York and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an Associates degree in computers or engineering,” Obama said during the State of the Union.
The school’s founding principal Rashid Davis said he was at home preparing for a presentation when his phone rang Tuesday night.
“I was like, ‘are you serious that the president actually gave a shout out to our school?'” Davis told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.
Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-TECH, first opened in Crown Heights, Brooklyn in Sept. 2011 with 104 first-year students.
The school, now in its second year, is the first of its kind to combine high school and college work in partnership with an international computer company.
“In order to be best prepared, students need to have the skills that are both college and career ready,” Davis said.
Students said having their school recognized by the president was a great feeling.
“It makes me feel bigger because I’m actually doing something that is important,” sophomore Gabriel Rosa told Haskell.
“I knew my school was amazing, but for the president to mention it – I think of it bigger than I do now,” student Kiambu Gall added.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans for the partnership that would become P-TECH in 2010.
“Together, we’ll create a school that runs from grades nine to grade 14 – yes, grade 14. All students will learn the traditional core subjects, but they’ll also receive an education in computer science and complete two years of college work,” Bloomberg said at the time.
Since the school is in partnership with IBM, graduates are moved to the front of the line for jobs with the company.
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