Future Falcons welcomed at West

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Cranston High School West opened its doors for the annual Future Falcon Open House Jan. 27, welcoming potential incoming students to explore the academic and extracurricular opportunities available through both the school and the Cranston Area Career and Technical Center, or CACTC.

Cranston West is currently home to approximately 1,500 students, 1,100 of whom also attend CACTC to receive career and technical education.

Principal Thomas Barbieri, Superintendent Jeannine Nota-Masse, Assistant Principal John Fontaine, and CACTC Director Zachary Farrell all welcomed those present for the open house, highlighting the unique educational experience available at Cranston West.

Cranston High School East JROTC students provided the honor guard and presented the colors. There were performances by That Falcon Band, the West Choir and a group of drama students.

Current senior Hannah Flynn spoke of her experiences at Cranston West after having attended private school during her elementary years. She encouraged incoming students to get involved in activities early in their high school career.

Cranston West alumna Erika Danella advised prospective students to seek out an older student as a mentor. She also urged the future Falcons to take advantage of the opportunities available to them at the school.

“It’s really what you make of it,” she said. “And be kind to others, because you never know what opportunities you’ll have later.”

James Sweeney graduated from Cranston West in 2014. He spoke of the school’s community as being like family, citing the support he received after the unexpected passing of his father last year.

Assistant Principal John Fontaine spoke as both an alumnus and an administrator at the school.

“The high school experience at Cranston West is the most unique high school experience in the state of Rhode Island,” he said.

Fontaine cited the new block schedule instituted this year, which allows students to take eight classes a year rather than seven. He also noted the opportunities available to pursue career pathways.

“When your parents are looking for ways that your education will stand out among all of the other high school graduates applying to college, this is how,” he said. “You’ll have four to eight classes in addition to the typical high school classes to set yourself apart. It could be an art pathway or world language, or maybe you’re a musician, or you took a career and tech pathways program. We’ve had pathways here at CACTC for 40 years, while some high schools are just popping up with programs now.”

Barbieri said Cranston West was rated as a four-star school in the state’s recent accountability report, with a wide variety of Advanced Placement and college credit classes available to students. For 2019, there are 271 students taking a total of 559 AP courses from among 14 different offerings.

Farrell spoke of the 13 competitive career and technical programs available in the district, 11 of which are housed at CACTC on the Cranston West campus. All were open for tours after the day’s welcoming ceremony.

For more information about Cranston West or about the CACTC application process, visit cpsed.net.

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