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Some Students Will Be Graduating High School And Getting Their Associate's Degree At The Same Time

By Jan Carabeo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- As the school year winds down for many across the Delaware Valley, one Philadelphia charter school is celebrating the success of a new program started this year.

Soon, some students will be graduating high school and getting their associate's degree at the same time.

It's a new partnership between MaST Community Charter School and the Community College of Philadelphia.

This year, a small group of sophomores was bused to CCP to take college classes during the school day.

It is double the workload, but the students know it will pay off in more ways than one.

The group is looking forward to a well-deserved summer break.

When they graduate from MaST Community Charter School in 2018, they will have also earned enough credits to leave with an Associate's degree in Business from the Community College of Philadelphia.

Mackenzie Schoen says, "It's a little difficult, but worth it in the end."

"I'll be getting half of my college credits towards a bachelor's degree," says Sabrina Fiocca.

Savannah Zazulah says, "That will set me ahead two years."

A jump start, Savannah says, will be valuable in reaching her dream of becoming an oncologist for children.

"My plan is to finish my four years at Temple and go and get my medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania. "

The new program is called MC Squared – MaST Community College.

These sophomores are the first to take part.

MaST Upper School Principal Phyllis Santiago says, "They really performed above and beyond anything I could have imagined. "

Every day they start with class at MaST, and later hop onto a bus to the Northeast campus of CCP, and eventually return for more coursework at the charter school.

Anthony Rodriguez says, "It's tough!"

"Sometimes it's difficult to catch up while completing high school at the same time, but I guess it's okay," adds Carson Lo.

They're being modest, they got straight A's and B's.

With only six students, it's a small, but tight-knit group.

Selwin Varughese says, "Whenever there's a problem they come help. "

Dual-enrollment and college experience, starting at age 15, is something the school says makes sense both academically and financially.

Principal Phyllis Santiago says, "It's a hundred dollars a credit and three hundred dollars a class. I think that's half the price of traditional tuition."

"Get a smattering of classes that will help them decide what they want to be later in life. "

MaST is calling the partnership a success. Now students have to test in, and seven new sophomores are ready to start next year.

We will have to revisit the first group in 2018 when they graduate high school with their college degrees.

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