PORT HENRY - Moriah Central School students can get a jump on college thanks to a program through North Country Community College.
High school students can earn up to 34 college credits through NCCC by taking classes at the local high school.
"It gives our students a taste of college," Moriah Principal Kathy Carr said. "It exposes them to what a college class looks and feels like. It opens another door for students."
Moriah used to offer Advanced Placement classes to its students, but dropped the AP program in favor of the classes taught through NCCC.
The AP program was expensive for students; credit depended on a final exam; and many colleges didn't accept the AP credit, Carr explained.
The NCCC program offers students classes in Spanish, political science, English, pre-calculus, U.S. history, calculus, environmental science, physics and anatomy and physiology. The science classes include labs.
Some of the classes are taught by Moriah teachers who have been approved by NCCC as adjunct professors and others are available through the school's distance learning lab.
"We want to encourage more kids to go to college," Carr said. "I think this helps, especially if they can have a semester behind them when they start."
Besides, Carr noted, students earn high school credit at the same time they earn the college credit.
"It's a great opportunity for our kids," Carr said. "It gives them confidence they can succeed in college. It's not as intimidating as AP and not based on a single exam. Most schools, especially in the SUNY (State University of New York) system, accept the credits."
Most Moriah students who go to college end up at regional schools, like NCCC, Carr said.
The classes are a great bargain, Carr said. Each class costs $50. She noted tuition at NCCC for 34 credits is about $5,000. Those same credits cost a Moriah student $500.
"We need to start preparing out kids to be successful in college," Carr said. "This gets kids to think about college when they wouldn't other wise. Let's face the facts, a high school education isn't going to be enough for most of these kids in the future."