The Valdosta Daily Times
Rising juniors from the Valdosta Early College Academy (VECA) were recognized at Valdosta State University Wednesday night as the first group of students to begin earning college credit while still in high school.
Called the Legacy Class, 10 students — five each in Math and English — will be allowed to take one dual-credit course at VSU. A partnership that was established in 2007 between VSU and Valdosta City Schools made VECA possible.
“I think this is really good given the stuff I’ve been through since sixth grade,” said sophomore Danielle Wade, 16, who will take a college-level math course in the fall. “I’m comfortable at the school, and I feel like I’m prepared to take this class.”
The recognition ceremony, held in the VSU Student Union Theater, provided an opportunity for families to hear from representatives from VSU and VECA about the program and the expectations they have for students taking advantage of it in the fall.
The program in its entirety serves 170 in grades 6 through 10, and the program continues to recruit students. Any student is eligible to apply, but VECA administration works to "reflect diversity" in the community as well as serve students who may not get a chance to attend college, according to Principal Ingrid Hall.
"A lot of our students are the first in their families to attend college, in the middle range when it comes to scores, and they show great potential," Hall said. "Many come from minority groups and poverty."
The dual-credit courses offer these students the opportunity to enter into college with credit, saving money and getting them a head-start in higher education. These students will take one course this fall, and will be allowed to take more in the following semesters, Hall said.
For VSU, the program is a great recruiting tool and prepares students for the college experience before they enter into the "high stakes" situation, VSU's Dr. Don Leech said, and helps foster better relationships between VSU and Valdosta City Schools.