Karina Elizondo excited while working with her classmates on a team building exercise.

For the first time in the program’s history, ECHS juniors from South Houston High School prepared for their transition into the world of a college student.

Steven Lew working on a team exercise with fellow staff members.

During a morning of fun and games at Coyote, Camp Orientation held at the San Jacinto College South Campus on Aug. 15, students and parents were given all the information needed about rules and expectations in order for the juniors to have a successful and stress-free year.

Marisol Maldonado at San Jacinto learning about her new schedule.

Taking college classes at San Jac is a great opportunity. The SHHS Early College program has grown and is now over 110 juniors. SHHS junior Hanna Tran was most excited about “getting two diplomas at the end of senior year.”

Karina Elizondo excited while working with her classmates on a team-building exercise.

South Houston’s ECHS opened in 2017-18 and gives its students the opportunity to earn both a high school diploma and an associates degree at the same time. “And it’s all free,” SHHS junior Leibylen Gutierrez added.

Students take all of their core classes at San Jac and only leave the campus if they have an elective to attend since their classes count as a form of dual credit. They also have early dismissals on Fridays, which gives them the opportunity to catch up on work or attend SHHS events such as pep rally’s and games. Junior Rebecca Aguilar is very thankful for ECHS because “it helped me improve my grades, and it made me be more excited about school because now I can be the first person in my family to graduate from college.”

Rhonda Bell, Dean of the Early College campus at South Houston High School, knows that the juniors are prepared. “They’ve been working really hard,” she said.