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News: Fast Track Program Puts PCC Student, 15, on Road to Success

PCC Student Anson Lam

Pasadena City College (PCC) student Anson Lam recently demonstrated the effectiveness of the campus’s concurrent enrollment program by graduating from high school while simultaneously reaching sophomore standing at PCC. What is particularly astonishing, however, is that Lam has achieved this immense feat at the age of 15. 

Lam was able to expedite his studies through PCC’s Fast Track program, which aims to accelerate students’ educational goals by allowing high school students to concurrently enroll in general educational classes at PCC. These classes are often tailored toward University of California and California State University requirements, thereby facilitating the transfer process. Dina Chase, director of PCC Outreach, Degree and Transfer Services, described Lam’s experience as a “real success story,” and one that attests to the potential of the Fast Track program in meeting students’ needs.                          

In addition to accomplishing the aforementioned feats earlier than his peers (he graduated from San Marino High School two years early), Lam has also done so with impressive grades. He graduated from high school with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 4.2 and as a Pre-law/Urban Studies sophomore at PCC, he has so far attained a GPA of 3.86. Lam’s academic talents and ability to meet the Fast Track requirements—students must possess a high school GPA of at least a 3.0, be eligible for English 100 or English 33B, and have completed first-year algebra with a B grade or higher—prompted him to become a PCC Fast Track student while he was in the seventh grade (12 years old).

Balancing high school and PCC assignments, however, required complete commitment and focus from Lam. “Being a concurrent student takes a lot of planning, dedication, and perseverance to reach to reach your transfer goal,” remarked Lam, who is undecided on which four-year university he wants to attend.

The Fast Track program also benefits participants through free enrollment, dedicated counseling and educational planning, continuing student registration status, and scholarship opportunities—all while resulting in substantial financial savings by satisfying general education requirements at a community college.

The counseling aspect was especially appreciated by Lam, who said the highlight of the program was “the support and encouragement I received from speaking with Transfer Center Director Dina Chase, Fast Track Counselor Tameka Alexander, and university representatives…and [as a member of the PCC Scholar Program] it was always a pleasure speaking with Scholar Program Counselor Harry Bloodgood.”

While attending high school and PCC, Lam was also involved in a variety of extracurricular and volunteer activities, including serving as an intern for a California assemblymember and being involved with Model United Nations, Key Club, and the Southern California Debate League (in this past year, Lam has earned two first-place awards for his participation in debate tournaments hosted by the League)—showing once again how a determined student can balance schoolwork from two separate institutions while still find time to become involved with extracurricular/volunteer activities. 

Release Date: 07/26/2013
Contact: Juan F. Gutierrez , Director of Public Relations
Phone: (626) 585-7264
Email: jfgutierrez@pasadena.edu