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Early College Partnership Allows Rockwood Students to Earn College Credit While in High School

 A Rockwood student smiles near a sign at St. Louis Community CollegeLafayette High senior Oscar Labit applied for the Early College Partnership (ECP) because he was interested in exploring ways to accelerate the pace of his education.

Now in his fourth semester of taking classes at St. Louis Community College-Wildwood, Labit is on track to graduate in May with his high school diploma and associate degree.

“The people who benefit from this program are those who are looking for something other than high school or are looking for high acceleration,” he said. “It’s amazing for people who are looking for something where they take what they want to take, have more flexibility and take as many classes as they want to take. There are tons of resources to help them through, so it’s a great program for those people. Everyone in ECP is very grateful for this opportunity.”

The Rockwood School District’s ECP collaboration with STLCC-Wildwood allows current Rockwood high school students to obtain an associate degree while fulfilling their Missouri graduation requirements. The ECP is a two-year, full-immersion, dual-enrollment program open to students at all four Rockwood high schools.

The application deadline for new students to join the 2023-2024 ECP cohort is Monday, Feb. 6.

“ECP has taught me how to be independent. It teaches you how to do college before you are in college and how to manage your time,” said Rockwood Summit High senior and ECP student Mia Wuesthoff, who plans to attend nursing school at Missouri State University after graduation. “If I want to build a schedule where I attend classes three days a week, I can. This allows me to have time to complete work and to have a job. You learn how to do that early on.”

During their enrollment in the ECP, students still have access to their full-time Rockwood high school counselor, as well as their college advisor. They will also have access to the STLCC-Wildwood Student Resource Center, library and computer labs, as well as student clubs and campus activities.

In addition to taking classes at STLCC, Labit has served as a math tutor for other students at the college. After a semester of Calculus I, his professor asked him to be an embedded tutor in her classroom. That role has expanded to a job as a peer tutor with the college’s Academic Success & Tutoring Center.

“I’ve always loved teaching individuals and small groups,” he said. “That’s always been one of my passions, and being a tutor here, I can do that in a subject that I also love.”

Labit plans to enroll in a four-year college after graduation and major in economics, mathematics, data science or a related field. After his undergraduate career, he plans to enter a graduate program, join the workforce or some combination of the two.

As he researches colleges, he is learning that his credit hours as a student in the ECP will allow him to pursue certificates in other areas of interest outside of his major.
“It clears up all this space in my first four years where I can pursue certificates while staying on the same general path as other people in my class,” Labit said. “I’m still getting involved with college life and my classes, but I’m able to pursue more things academically.”