Seminole high school students working on college degree

By Jeff Allen, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, August 17, 2017, 3:27 PM EDT

The school year may be young, but a few dozen high school students in Seminole County are already working on their college degree. 

  • High school students working on college degree
  • Program offered at Lake Howell High School
  • Expected to save students at least $6,500

Lake Howell High School just launched a new program that will allow high school students to get an associate business degree.

Lake Howell freshman Gabriela Coello admits she doesn’t have her entire future figured out just yet.

“When you start off, you really have no idea what you’re going to do,” said Coello.

But Coello is already doing work that will eventually earn her a college degree when she graduates from Lake Howell.  Earning college credits in high school is nothing new.  But beginning this school year, students in the new program at Lake Howell can earn an entire Associate in Arts Business degree through high school classes.

Coello is in the first group, which is spending their first semester by learning the basics of entrepreneurship.  

“We’re expanding their minds and opening their ideas to ‘I can do whatever I want to do,’” said Lake Howell teacher Ashley Johnson.

The program is expected to save each student at least $6,500, money the students would have spent on courses at a college.  And those savings don’t factor in other college costs like room and board, fees and textbooks.

“My aunt still owes like $60,000 just because she decided to become a nurse, so I don’t want to end up like that. So I’m also trying to get a scholarship, and this just sort of lightens the load,” said Coello.

The program, which partners with Seminole State College, more than meets students’ required curriculum for high school.  And it pushes students further academically.

“This is also an opportunity to push their academic limits,” said Lake Howell Principal Michael Kotkin.

“The rigor, the relevance and all of the connections that they’re making, is really a chance for them to push themselves.”

“I can get a better job when I graduate college,” said Samuel Danielson.  

What Coello learns in high school might just help her decide what she wants to do for the rest of her life.

“I can actually own my own private practice and I’ll know how to run it properly,” said Coello.  

Right now the program is only at Lake Howell High School, but Seminole County school administrators say 8th graders from across the school district can apply to transfer to Lake Howell to be a part of the program.