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Students embrace challenges

Attending new Early College High School no piece of cake.

Posted: March 26, 2008 1:07 a.m.
Updated: May 27, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Students at the new Early College High School use laptops in some of their classes. Each semester, students take two College of the Canyons and five high school classes.

(Nicole Chavez is a freshman at Early College High School. The school opened last fall with only a freshman class.)

Students from all over the William S. Hart Union High School District have joined together to form a brand new school.

Early College High School is the name for the school, which opened its doors in August. ECHS students are currently enrolled in ninth grade and also in college. Each semester, two college courses and five high school classes are taken by the students on the new College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus.

It may not be a piece of cake to attend high school and college classes, but these students are making it possible in order to get a higher education.

"It was a bit overwhelming at first, however, it was a whole new transition for everyone, but as time went on, we all adapted," said Maxine Arellano, a student at ECHS.

Since ECHS is a particularly small school, with fewer than 100 students this year, it's easy for everyone to bond with one another and get to know each other. In a traditional high school this would be impossible to do with so many students.

Many people think that this school is all about academics - and primarily it is - however, that does not mean that these high school and college students don't know how to have fun. They are fun-loving just like those who attend traditional high schools.

"I feel that ECHS focuses mainly on academics, but there are many opportunities hidden beneath its surface," said ECHS student Lakshan Fonseka.

Now how do these dedicated students balance high school and college work? To be able to do twice the work these students have to have determination and the perseverance to succeed.

"At first it was challenging to have high school and college work, but over time it became second nature to me," Fonseka said.

This is what it's like for these ECHS students - they work hard all the time, with their future in mind.

The main reason for Kenia Duque to attend this new school was to expand her education. Many students were encouraged to attend ECHS by their parents and friends and once school started they realized they fit right in and this is where they are meant to be.

Paul Park is glad he is involved in this new program, along with other students.

"It gives great opportunities and I'm able to interact with people from other areas," Park said.

This is another plus: Students are able to join with students from around the valley and are able to take on this journey together.

It may be a lot of hard work, but this is just the beginning.


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