Five NHHS Students Hit the Books at Yale

North Haven High School Guidance Department Director Rebecca Carr (left) and counselor Anthony Mastriano (right) are rightfully proud of their five students who, as part of their school week, attend Yale University, a group that includes  Pat LeGates and Amanda Royka.
North Haven High School Guidance Department Director Rebecca Carr (left) and counselor Anthony Mastriano (right) are rightfully proud of their five students who, as part of their school week, attend Yale University, a group that includes Pat LeGates and Amanda Royka. Photo by Jack Kramer/The Courier

Five North Haven High School students are spending part of this year on a nearby but different campus-that of Yale University.

Two of those students, seniors Amanda Royka and Pat LeGates, recently sat down with Anthony Mastriano, facilitator of the Yale program; Rebecca Carr, director of the high school Guidance Department; and the Courier to discuss what taking courses at an Ivy school in downtown New Haven is like.

Royka, who also participated in the Yale program last year as a junior, said the cognitive science course she is taking at Yale "has been an invaluable experience."

LeGates said the fractal geometry course he is taking at Yale "has been great. I really, really like it a lot."

If the courses these students are taking at Yale sound hard and challenging, it's because they are-but these students are up to the task, said Carr.

"These are our top students and we are very fortunate to have them represent North Haven High School in this program," said Carr.

Mastriano, who is in his first year administering the Yale program, chimed in: "These are our brightest and most motivated students" participating in the program. "They are very excited about the opportunity to go to school at Yale and are taking advantage of it."

North Haven is one of several area high schools that has students in the Yale program. Participating students in North Haven are selected by a committee comprised of a high school administrator, high school counselors, and Carr, as director of the Guidance Department.

Transportation to and from Yale, parking, and the cost of all books and supplies are the responsibility of the student. Tuition is paid by the North Haven school system.

Both Royka and LeGates attend the Yale courses they take twice a week as the last part of their North Haven school day.

Both of their classes are, as they describe them, "lecture classes," meaning they are large-up to 200 students in the class. Both of them said they have "excellent professors" who are tops in their respective fields and make the experience of attending Yale something they'll never forget.

LeGates said one thing he's gotten out of the experience "is that I tended to take for granted before that a school as high caliber as Yale was right in our backyard. I don't anymore."

Royka added that she really enjoyed "Yale shopping week," which is a period of time during which students get to sample dozens of different courses as school starts before deciding which few classes in which to enroll.

She added that she's tried "to embrace the whole campus experience," even sharing school stories with her fellow Yale students "while having coffee breaks."

Yale courses are given level 4 credit at North Haven and are included in the class rank of each student. The grade awarded on each Yale course is based on the scale used by Yale to grade its undergraduates. The Yale courses are listed on North Haven's High School's transcript for one credit. Students also have a Yale transcript available to them.

While both LeGates and Royka have enjoyed attending Yale, neither are ready to say yet whether the school will be on their list of possible choices when they enroll in college-for good-in fall 2014.

But they both plan to live the college life to the fullest for the next few months at Yale.

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