Students at Union High School are working toward their future, getting a head start on college with a unique program between Union and Tulsa Community College.
The Early College High School program is among the first of its kind in the state and was granted an exception from the State Regents for Higher Education.
Allowing the students to begin college courses during their high school sophomore year.
Union Sophomore Keirsten Metcalf says, "It's helping us stay in school because typically people that are involved with early college stay in it."
Keirsten is among a select few high school students getting to earn 60 college credit while still in high school.
"So far what I've learned in this program is that you as a person is getting better and you can see what more opportunities you can get in the future," says Union Sophomore Ricardo Velez.
Students must apply to take part in the program. It encourages diversity, and participation by "First in their family" college students.
Marla Robinson, Principal for the class of 2021, said, "So it's going to give them significance heads up in terms of when they transfer from high school with their associate degree to a four year program."
Classes take place at the high school's College and Career Center which cuts out a transportation barrier that might keep some students from enrolling. Also, study materials for the courses are free.
"First of all, I was really nervous because I was like I'm starting college at a young age," says Ricardo Velez. But now he feels he can do anything.
"I think for me one of the things that is most exciting about this program is the opportunities that it provides for your students," says Marla Robinson.
When Keirsten and Ricardo graduate from Union High School, they will not only walk across the stage to get their high school diploma, they will also have an associates degree from Tulsa Community College.
"It's a win, win for both myself and the school because by being in this program I'm able to like explore the possibilities of my future," says Keirsten Metcalf.
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