Lackawanna Trail students participating in Keystone College program

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(WBRE/WYOU) — High school students in Wyoming County will soon be going to college and they’re only in the 11th grade.

They will be earning college credits and an early childhood learning certificate. This is similar to dual enrollment but it goes above and beyond. The Lackawanna Trail students will be coming to campus to earn credits.

Children between three and five years old at Oppenheim Family Children’s Center are learning colors with fall leaves. But with just a swipe, they will soon help older students paint a much clearer picture.

“Around when I turned 13 I started working at a camp in Waverly and I just love working with kids,” Lackawanna Trail High School junior Charles Austin said.

“Something I want to pursue. I just love being around them,” junior Tia Brooks said.

Brooks and Austin are two of eight students that will participate in Keystone College’s new pre-apprenticeship program. Through Governor Tom Wolf’s PA Smart initiative, the college received a grant for $60,000. It will allow Lackawanna Trail students the opportunity to earn 12 college credits and a national credited childcare development associate certificate, making the students a certified childcare professional, all before graduating high school.

“They can use it to illustrate to a potential employer that they have the skills and the disposition necessary to begin working with children,” Frances Langan, vice president of institutional advancement and strategic initiatives at Keystone College, said.

“For basically free and it will boost me into college and help me out in that aspect,” Brooks said.

At the center, there are eight teachers. Each high school student will be with one to gain knowledge they need to further their career.

Langan says the eight students will learn the core to early childhood education by getting to know these young children, working with them, learning the curriculum, and most importantly, help them grow.

“All of these kinds of things will be productive for them as they move on either this career or any other career,” Langan said.

“I’m really just looking forward to working with the kids and working at the college and getting my credits,” Austin said.

The state grant money will be used for administrative costs associated with the program. The eight students will start in the program by the end of the month.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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