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Students Can Earn Associate Degree Through New Program

A new program in Washington County is giving students an opportunity to earn an associate degree before they graduate high school.
HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- A new program in Washington County is giving students an opportunity to earn an associate degree before they graduate high school.

Hagerstown Community College and Washington County Public Schools are joining forces to make an early start on college possible.

"We've developed a program that's going to allow students in some cases earn an associates degree and a high school diploma at the same time," said Rick Akers, WCPS Director of Secondary Schools.

There are nine students in the first class of the STEMM Middle College program and they're learning and working on HCC's campus to get hands-on experience.

"It allows kids who are ready to leave high school, they can go ahead and still get the credit and graduate but they can also go to where they feel like they fit," said Klaire Williams, STEMM Middle College Student. "And for me this was definitely a good fit," she continued.

Officials are already recruiting 9th and 10th grade students.

"So they're getting the prerequisite course work that they need they're taking care of their student service learning hours, any mandated assessment all of that is taken care of so they can come here as a junior in their chosen field," said Donna Hanlin, with Hagerstown Community College.

Officials say this kind of program is a step in the right direction.

"I think giving students the opportunity for early college experiences is just one more step toward our overall goal of making sure all of our kids are college and career ready and allowing kids to excel at whatever rate they're able to," said Akers.

Officials are keeping the program as affordable as possible by giving STEMM Middle College Students discounted tuition.

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