Stella Fleming is a student at Saint John’s Catholic Prep. She’s a junior and going into her final year, she’s already thinking about leaving for college.
“I’ve been itching to get out of high school, to get the college experience. I’m ready to get on with my life and go into higher education,” Fleming said.
Fleming is now one of eight students enrolled in a new program, the Senior/Freshman Initiative, formed through a partnership between the Catholic prep school and Mount St. Mary’s University.
“[These chosen students] will enjoy all of the experiences of their senior year here at the prep, but they will come to our Emmitsburg campus and they will be matriculated as full freshmen in our fall classes,” explained Mount St. Mary’s University Education Division Dean, Barabara Marinak.
At a ceremony Tuesday, officials from both institutions signed off on the initiative that will allow these students to take a full university schedule of 12-to-15 credits during the fall and spring semesters, while retaining their status as senior students at the prep school.
The program is formed to allow students to continue participation in sports and clubs.
“I do volleyball and track. We’ve set my schedule so most of my classes are finished around one p.m. so I’ll be able to come back to campus at a good time so I’m not running to get to practice,” Fleming explained.
Officials say the cost for students in the program is about $20,000, but the $17,000 tuition for the high school will also go towards the college classes.
And for mom, Alyssa Eichelberger, that’s a big draw to help support her daughter, Kathleen.
“To have this opportunity to have her go to college for pretty much the cost of high school, it was a no brainer,” Eichelberger said.
“I really love the idea of just going to college a year early. It’ll help me be more prepared,” said student at the prep, Kathleen Eichelberger.
Officials say they hope to grow the program to include about 15 senior students.