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Longview High School launches college program, partners with LeTourneau University neighbor

LeTourneau University

Dozens of ninth graders at Longview High School will get a very early jump on college coursework when school begins Aug. 24.

A new site for Texas’ Early College High School program is a partnership between Longview High School and LeTourneau University in Longview.

LeTourneau will expose students to its prominent aviation program. The Longview High students will take some college courses at LeTourneau – up 60 credits over the next four years, according to LeTourneau’s vice president for enrollment management Terry Dale Cruse.

“When you can get students on campus around college students who are here every day, then they begin to see themselves as a college student and that’s the whole goal,” Cruse said.

The Texas Education Agency has designated 153 Early College High Schools statewide. They’re designed to help promising students see a pathway to college, especially coming from first generation and underprivileged backgrounds. Everett Brunson, dean of Longview’s Early College High School, expects 85 students will enroll. The high school has 2,000 students.

“Students attending the Early College High School do not pay any tuition. So, we’re talking all the way up to an associate’s degree tuition-free for the student. That’s one of the huge draws,” Brunson said.

To be clear: ninth graders won’t rack up flight hours. But stick with the program, and they will attend ground school and get exposed to the aviation culture, according to Cruse. He says this environment will give them a very good sense of what they want to pursue in college.

“We don’t expect to have hundreds of students in this program. But it’s still a really good way for us to connect with students right here in Longview and show them the tremendous opportunity that exists in their backyard,” Cruse said, adding they could save up to $50,000 in tuition if they complete the program and earn 60 credits.

LeTourneau announced a similar dual-credit program last year with Pine Tree High School students interested in pursuing a bachelor of nursing degree.

Brunson says he’s working out other partnership pathways with LeTourneau’s engineering, pre-med and psychology programs.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' experience to Red River Radio having started out as a radio news reporter and moving into television journalism as a newsmagazine producer / host, talk-show moderator, programming director and managing producer and news director / anchor for commercial, public broadcasting and educational television. He has more recently worked in advertising, marketing and public relations as a writer, video producer and media consultant. In pursuit of higher learning, Chuck studied Mass Communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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