ctra early-college model case study

CTRA Scholars: Julia Snyder Prepares for Her Future at CTRA

Julia Snyder is from a Connecticut community that “strives to preserve its quiet, small-town charm.” Her favorite color is purple, she loves risotto, enjoys listening to Billie Eilish, and her favored movie is Beauty and the Beast. She attributes her love for the Disney classic to identifying with Belle, the non-conforming lead character who dreams big and is on a quest for knowledge and all that life has to offer.

During her pursuit to discover life beyond her cozy town, Julia heard about Connecticut River Academy (CTRA) through her older sister’s friend, who had been enrolled in the early college magnet high school. Julia was intrigued and encouraged after hearing that the magnet school had supportive teachers. Now a senior at Connecticut River Academy, Julia couldn’t be happier about her decision: “All the teachers really want you to do your best. They love seeing you succeed and I feel very supported by all of them here.”

When asked if she was nervous on her first day of high school, Julia readily admitted, “I’ve always been a very shy and introverted person… I didn’t know anyone at all… [but] everyone’s included [here]… nice, and welcoming. They want everyone to feel loved. They want you to [voice] your opinion and [share] what you’re passionate about.”

While Julia will always carry that small-town feeling within her character, she attributes CTRA to showing her what else life has to offer. “CTRA really exposed me to the world. I’m from a really small town and it opened my eyes about different cultures…I met my two best friends on the first day, and we just connected right then and there.”  Julia spoke about the first time she took her new friends to her hometown and how they were impressed by the big backyard that they could hang out in. “…Even though we [are] different, growing up in totally different places, we connected, and I knew CTRA was the right place for me.”

Julia now finds herself in the midst of her senior year and she is working on her capstone portfolio. The capstone project is completed by all senior-year students and captures one of CTRA’s missions: catering to civic responsibility. “Our capstone project is all about action,” Julia said matter-of-factly “…we’re going to take action in the community and bring something back that we feel really passionate about.” Julia’s capstone is all about raising awareness for the funding of elementary school music education programs. A member of CTRA’s Tri-M honors program, a music honors society, and as someone who avidly enjoys listening to music with her friends, Julia is looking to “create a safe space for children to express their emotions through music.” Julia, who is no stranger to the calming sound of strummed guitar strings, wants to focus on the effect music has on children and their development. The choice fits Julia like a glove. Her favorite place to hang out is the CTRA music room, and her favorite teacher is Mr. Bernard, who is in charge of the music and artistic performances at the school. “He really connects with us… he asks you about your day and will pull you aside if he notices something wrong. He just makes sure [that] everyone knows they belong, [and] that they’re supported.”

When asked about her future, Julia confidently confided her big plan to major in Business and Communication after high school with hopes of eventually taking over the family business.  Her family business focuses on quality workmanship and seeing projects from start to finish, strikingly similar to Julia’s work-ethic. As part of Connecticut River Academy’s Early College Model, Julia has already taken college-level English, Psychology, and Communications courses, as well as all of her year two classes, and, her favorite class, Introduction to Management, tuition-free.  Attending Connecticut River Academy took Julia from a small town high school student to an active participant in Goodwin’s collegiate courses with friends from across different communities. After graduation, not only will Julia be receiving her high school diploma, but also a priceless perspective and outlook on all of the opportunities that stand before her.

Interested in learning more? Visit: www.ctriveracademy.org