PASCO, Wash. - It seems the Columbia Basin College Running Start program is now at a full sprint. More than 850 high school students are taking college classes this year, a 12% increase over last year.
"It's kind of like a stepping stone to higher education. It's kind of in the middle between a high school and a university," said James Brown. He just graduated from Pasco High School last spring but left with some higher education experience under his belt. Brown did Running Start his senior year.
"In high school, you have teachers, you need to do this, you need to do that and they're kind of always on you about your schoolwork and your grades and all that. But in college it's very different," said Brown.
"I think it did help me. It showed me what classes are like and they're just going to get harder from there and all the time and stuff you have to put in the classes," said another Running Start participant, Brookelyn Daniels.
Daniels did Running Start for two years out of Kamiakin High School. When she earned her diploma, she also got her Associates Degree for free. Running Start students earn dual credit from their classes at CBC and they only pay for books, transportation and school fees.
"It's not for everyone but for the majority of our students, they do very well and we welcome them here. They are some of our better students and they do well," said Running Start Director Cheryl Holden.
"It's a really good way to prepare yourself for life after high school because it teaches you to take more on as a person, as an individual. Like I said, it teaches you responsibility," Brown said.
Juniors and seniors who want to get into Running Start must take a placement test to qualify.