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Pender grads earn diploma and associate degree as well

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Some students in Pender County are graduating high school with more than just a diploma. They're also leaving with an associate's degree. Pender Early College High School is making this a possibility. The program is designed for students to graduate high school in five years, but with a diploma, an associate degree, and 64 college credit hours, all at no cost to them. Diego Camposeco is part of the first graduating class from Pender Early College and is one of six students accomplishing this in just four years, instead of five. "I'd like to show other students that you can do this and you don't have to be forced to go with the status quo." College liaison Brian Weeks said, "It's basically for students who want to get a jump start on their college career so when they graduate from the early college, they have the potential to be juniors when they transfer to a four-year institution." Students are required to complete 150 hours of community service and an internship before they graduate. North Carolina leads the country with 60 early colleges in the state.

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