Twenty-five students helped make SLPS history this spring. These seniors had TWO graduations to attend—their high school graduation, and on May 11th, they also earned their Associate’s Degrees from the St. Louis Community College. These students were the first graduates of SLPS’ Early College Academy. The program started two years ago with 25 students, and this year will include nearly 60 students. All SLPS high school students with a 3.5 GPA are eligible to apply for the demanding program which allows them to take their junior and senior years on campus at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park. While the District covers much of the cost of the program, donors including Enterprise, Dana Brown Charitable Trust, the Saigh Foundation and Bank of America support key components including summer class tuition, ACT prep, and counseling for the students.
“When I first started the program, students segregated themselves by high school, but we’ve come together as a family…we’ve formed study groups, shared advice, and most importantly, passed Calculus! The Early College Academy has been the highlight of my high school experience,” said Arric Lucas who was a featured speaker at the SLPS Foundation reception this year. Lucas is planning to attend Washington University, where he received a full scholarship. One hundred percent of his fellow Early College Academy graduates are attending four-year college next year, and most are starting college with at least 60 hours of college credit towards their degree.