Early college high schools become even more specialized

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POSTED: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 3:03pm

UPDATED: Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 8:16am

Like numerous border towns, a large amount of the La Joya city population never went to college. In fact, a large amount didn't even graduate high school.

"Both of my parents exited school at 6th grade," Juan Pina, Jimmy Carter High School 10th grader.

"My dad went only to 9th grade, and my mom only finished 6th grade," Karen Gonzalez, Jimmy Carter High School 11th grader.

But not anymore, with education high on the priority list, the La Joya Independent School District went so far as to create a school just solely focused on getting kids college education. That school is Jimmy Carter Early College High School.

"We recruit students who are first generation, students who are of low socioeconomic status, students who could be potential drop outs," said Sylvia Sepulveda, Jimmy Carter High School Principal.

And the students don't mind this profiling.

"It makes everything feel very equal. It's something, you know the person before you even talk to them because you know where they come from, they come from the same background, and it just adds a lot more confidence," said Pina.

The curriculum in these classrooms is different than a normal high school. Each student can customize their graduate degree plan. They can receive up to 60 college credit hours and/or an associates degree.

"So hopefully when the students have completed their program here, their program of study, they can go out and finish the last two years of their bachelors program," said Sepulveda.

And early college high schools do more than just educate, they save parents big bucks.

"So potentially it is saving about 20 thousand dollars, so that's a lot, and not just text books, but college classes and all that," said Pina.

But for these students, the best thing is that they are starting a pathway for the rest of their families to follow.

"The biggest jewel no one will ever be able to steal away from you is your education," said Gonzalez.  

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