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Schools Rule: Holt’s Early College Program is growing

Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 12:43 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 10, 2020 at 12:46 PM EDT
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HOLT, Mich. (WILX) - A program at Holt High School is growing in popularity.

The District’s Early College Program means students can earn their high school diploma and up to an associate degree at the same time. It got its start in the 2018-2019 school year.

“Anything that I feel like will be good for my future, I will do it,” explained Gladys Kamdem, an Early College student. Kamdem is about to enter her 13th year where she’ll be on Lansing Community College’s campus full time.

Kamdem is a 2020 high school graduate but she is not getting her diploma just yet. She and Mimi Gutierrez, who are both enrolled in the Early College Program, will get both their diploma and their associate degrees at the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

“I feel blessed to have the opportunity,” Gutierrez said. “It’s not something all schools offer. I feel that the fact Holt offers it, really, anybody should take advantage of it if given the chance.”

Lucas Schrauben, director of secondary programs at Holt, explained the breakdown of Early College.

“The functional part of Early College is years 11, 12 and 13. It adds a year to the high school delivery,” Schrauben said.

“When you first start the process it starts to get to you a little bit,” Kamdem said. “Like, ‘Okay, I’m going to be doing high school and college classes at the same time. This is going to be tough, but the challenge rises and it builds up momentum.”

Early College students are still enrolled at Holt so their college classes are virtually free. The program has grown in just one academic year. Right now, 58 students are enrolled.

“It was bumpy at the beginning just because we were all trying to figure out how this Early College thing worked,” said Gutierrez. “But we’ve always had the teacher’s support.”

In the next edition of Schools Rule, WILX News 10 will explore what the Early College program means to both Kamdem and Gutierrez, and how the Coronavirus pandemic impacted their unique high school experience.

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