BATON ROUGE, The (BRPROUD) — Just over a quarter of adults in Louisiana have a university degree.
Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) is taking steps to increase this number by focusing on the educational needs of the next generation.
BRCC and Geo Next Generation High School have partnered to create a program that will allow students to earn an associate degree while still in high school.
The program is called The Early College Academy and is designed to help students earn associate degrees in any field of their choice. One of the most remarkable aspects of the Academy is that it is completely free.
Geo Next Generation High students are eager to take advantage of the opportunities the Academy provides to participants.
Sierra Ravish, a senior at Geo Next Generation High, is one such student.
She told BRProud, “I’m grateful for this program because it allowed me to become a role model for my younger siblings. I come from a family where neither of my parents was able to complete high school.
Another high school student, Quintasia McCray, credited the program with giving her a head start towards a brighter future.
McCray said, “It helped me discover myself and what I wanted for myself. I have 63 credits. And that will lead me to get my degree in biology to become an orthopedic surgeon.
BRCC officials say the Academy was created with students like Ravish and McCray in mind.
Dr. Willie Smith, Chancellor of the BRCC, described the ways he expects the program will help local high school students, saying: “They can be productive in society, hopefully transferring to university. But if they want to go to work, they will have the skills to go to work.
Kevin Teasley, CEO of GEO Next Generation High, echoed those sentiments when explaining what he hears from students about the Academy.
Teasley said: “‘I can finish college,’ ‘I think I’m a student now.’ That’s what we hear from our students, which is fantastic.
Given the many benefits the Academy offers high school students, Dr. Willie Smith says he expects more participation in the future.
“I can’t stress that enough,” Smith said. “Leaving school with college with a high school diploma and a college diploma says a lot.”
BRCC firmly believes that this is just the beginning, the school expects the program to eventually become available in ten other school districts.