The 2017 AA1 class, with members of the AA1 Committee

Like their predecessors, the third class of SUNY Broome AA1 students forged closed bonds in the challenging classes they took together.

Designed for academic all-stars, the program allows students to obtain a two-year degree in a single year, preparing them for top-flight colleges. Students share four seminar classes together: “The Art of Science,” “Verbal Reasoning,” “Social Science Research Methods” and “Personal Economics,” and work together on challenging research projects.

“We’re the only two-year school in the state for sure and probably the country that has this,” said Dean of Liberal Arts Michael Kinney during the annual AA1 reception on May 1.

Family and friends attended the reception, which honored the graduating AA1 class for their accomplishments and presented them with medallions they will wear during Commencement. SUNY Broome President Kevin E. Drumm, Executive Vice President Francis Battisti and Broome Community College Foundation Executive Director Cathy Williams offered their congratulations and praise – as well as a bit of advice.

“Keep aiming high for the rest of your lives. You have such a head start,” said Dr. Drumm, a community college graduate himself – although, he admitted, an average student at the time.

The 2017 AA1 class

Despite being among the best at their alma mater and now their local college, students should always strive to become better, he added.

“Our AA1 students are those students who make the Broome family stronger,” Williams noted. “Never forget that you young people have accomplished in one year what the majority of students on our campus struggle to accomplish in two.”

Many of the AA1 students knew each other even before becoming Hornets; Brittany Carpenter, Hector Lopez, Mahum Nazar, Sarah Sherman, Emma Weiss and Anastasia Youngs all attended Johnson City High School, while Nathan Hagerman hails from Windsor and Kaitlyn Stewart attended school in Susquehanna Valley. Juliette Dellorusso and Nicholas Vogel come from downstate: She’s from Rye Brook and he’s from Selden.

“We are all in the same classes and we all became good friends,” Sherman reflected.

A number of them will still see each other on campus after graduation – Binghamton University’s campus, that is; Dellorusso, Lopez, Nazar, Sherman, Vogel and Stewart plan to transfer there, while Weiss is headed to Ithaca College, Youngs to SUNY Oneonta, Carpenter to the University at Albany and Hagerman to SUNY Cortland.

Despite their similarities, all have different goals. Carpenter plans to eventually get a doctorate in physical therapy, while Hagerman hopes to become a New York State Trooper, with sports studies as a fallback. Lopez, who fell in love with graphic design after taking an elective course in the field, will continue to pursue that field, while Sherman hopes to become a high school English teacher, Stewart a forensic scientist and Youngs an occupational therapist. Weiss and Vogel plan on graduate degrees and ultimately careers in psychology, while Nazar wants to become a human rights attorney.

SUNY Broome wasn’t the first choice for a number of students, but they’re glad that they made the leap.

“This program has definitely taught me more than any program would have at another school,” said Carpenter, who is also a Presidential Honors Scholar.

For others, SUNY Broome was a first choice. Hagerman wanted to stay close to home for his education. Weiss had planned on attending Broome back in high school, thinking that it would help her determine her future course; she was right, she said.

SUNY Broome is nothing like the community college near his hometown, said Vogel, who was impressed by all the opportunities Broome has offered. Still, the program was highly challenging; Lopez described the prospect of taking 64 credits in a single year as a bit crazy.

“I feel like everyone was really friendly – the faculty, the professors,” said Nazar, who moved to Johnson City from the Big Apple only five years ago. “It was a really wonderful experience.”

“I definitely think this is something I would recommend to other students,” Stewart said of the AA1 program.