When the clock turned midnight on January 9, 2019, most CCHS students were finishing up homework as usual. But a few sophomore students in particular were refreshing their computer in hopes to be the first to apply to College Academy— a program that offers many benefits in exchange for some sacrifices.
College Academy is a high school program based at the A. Hugh Adams Broward College central campus. This gives juniors and seniors the ability to earn a high school diploma from Broward County, along with an associate of arts (AA) degree from Broward College by offering college courses to them. This helps students qualify for the Bright Futures scholarship and overall college admissions.
Letters were sent as early as December to many CCHS sophomores that were considered qualified applicants. However, any student can apply as long as they meet the first set of requirements. With the letters, students were given a heads up on this beneficial opportunity and time to weigh their options.
“I got my letter near the end of December and I was very hesitant because my immediate reaction was that I would be leaving all of my friends and the band program,” sophomore Mya Waldron said. “Now I’m considering it because of the opportunity to get my AA degree early.”
“[College Academy] will allow me to complete a lot of college courses while still in high school.”
The AA degree is arguably the most talked about incentive of College Academy. With this degree, students would be going into their first year of college with two years of classes completed. This allows students to graduate early from college while simultaneously saving money.
“I decided that I wanted to go to College Academy because I think I’ll get the most out of it since it’s a full-time dual enrollment,” sophomore Madelina Bulat said. “This will allow me to complete a lot of college courses while still in high school.”
Aside from receiving an AA, the classes are another aspect of College Academy that encourages students to join the program. The classes offered are more specific to a chosen career path, which allows more academic freedom for the student.
“I decided to go to College Academy because of the opportunities it presented to me, like having the ability to control my own schedule and pick the classes I am genuinely interested in,” College Academy junior Tyler Wong said. “[Because of this,] my best experience has been meeting people that I share similar interests with.”
“My best experience has been meeting people that I share similar interests with.”
Along with more specialized classes, there are many courses offered at College Academy that are not offered at CCHS. This makes the program an even more appealing option because students can begin to earn credits specifically for their college major. Or, if they’re unsure of what career path to choose, start to decide what to major in.
“They offer classes for law enforcement that aren’t offered at Cooper,” Waldron said. “I’m not totally sure on what I want to major in, but criminal justice is what I’m considering the most, so this would be great for me.”
As intriguing as the benefits may be, there are many sacrifices that have to be made in order to participate in College Academy. One is that College Academy students are no longer CCHS students. Participation in extracurriculars or sports is still allowed depending on the adviser, but participation in on-campus school activities is no longer available.
“I decided not to apply because I didn’t want to miss out on my high school experience and the extracurricular activities I’m involved in, such as Multicultural club, DECA and the fashion/design team,” sophomore Lauren Dupoux said. “I would [also] miss my group of friends, my extracurriculars and all the school festivities like prom, spirit days, graduation and all that.”
Friends are a major and important aspect of high school that can also be lost by attending College Academy. They influence one’s personality and values. Although new friends can always be made, they might not always make up for the ones lost.
“I would miss everyday things like going to classes and interacting with classmates my age that I’ve known for a long time.”
“The only thing that would change my mind about College Academy is the Sound of Pride,” Waldron said. “It’s something that I don’t think I’m ready to give up because we really are a family. I’d be missing out on so much if I left.”
The Sound of Pride is one of the many things that are unique to CCHS. College Academy offers extracurriculars to get involved in based on student interest. But there are certain things at CCHS that are unlike any other high school.
“I would miss everyday things like going to classes and interacting with classmates my age that I’ve known for a long time,” Dupoux said. “There’s also a lot of other things that I would miss. Like the MSD tribute last year was an experience that I appreciate having, and I would have regretted missing. So any other event that the school organizes like that I wouldn’t want to miss either.”
Students who have applied for College Academy won’t know their status until March, but until then, those students will most likely continue to refresh their pages. With the motto, “where high school goes to college,” there is no doubt that the students that go to College Academy next year will be met with a rigorous course load that offers big rewards in the long term.
Photo courtesy of Broward College