Earning Associates Degrees in High School
We spoke to two seniors at West Port High School in Marion County who will soon be graduating, receiving their high school diplomas and their Associate's Degrees.
"I have two years of college out of the way, paid for, for me. I don't have to worry about it," William Flett, a senior at West Port told TV20.
"So I have my future to look forward to with a little less stress," he said.
West Port offers college-accredited classes completely free through their Early College Program.
The teachers are mostly adjuncts at the College of Central Florida.
"It requires the students have a level of maturity that they are going to pursue excellence independently and follow through on their studies," Early College Instructor, Mary Fillion told TV20.
A total of 42 students graduating this week will have earned their AA's, and another 200 are currently enrolled. Some have taken college-level classes since the 10th grade.
"It's been a challenge, but it's been motivating, inspiring. It's been fulfilling," Flett said.
West Port is the only school in the county that offers this program, but the magnet school is open to any Marion County high school student.
"I'm very excited about it," Lonique Bennet, senior, told TV20. "But I think my parents are even more excited than I am."
Early College students have read works by Ayn Rand, and The Post American World by Fareed Zakaria. And the college-level books, also free.
"I'm going to Florida State in the Fall, so it's really expensive up there," Bennet said. "So I'm happy I got two years out of the way. 'Gonna save their pockets a little bit."
And while these students get ready for the college life, they'll have double the reasons to be proud of themselves as they walk that stage this Friday.
Bennett will study nursing at FSU, while Flett will study software engineering at the University of North Florida to make "technology better for the future."
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