Students of the Chester County Technical College High School began the first day at what is truly a "one of a kind" educational facility in Jennersville this week.The school is a joint venture of the Chester County Intermediate Unit and Delaware County Community College. The new venture brings shared learning opportunities and state-of-theart resources to high school and college students in Southern Chester County.

Construction on the new 123,000 sq. ft. building began in November of 2006, and the newly-finished school now houses a high school and community college specializing in vocational education.

The parameter of the school seems endless with its countless rooms, each filled with state-ofthe-art technology and tools needed for such concentrations as cosmetology, animal science, horticulture, heath sciences, automotive, carpentry and HVAC.

The school also has a separate preschool wing designated for students interested in early childcare and special education, complete with an enclosed, outdoor play area for participating children.

One of the things that makes the new school so unique is that high school students can be dually enrolled in college courses while still attending high school. Many of the programs offered at the school will be considered dual enrollment, where the instructor will be community college qualified, and will teach college-level courses to high school students.

This dual enrollment model can be used for general education and technical education courses and programs, such as occupational health classes.

Two of the programs that the school's administration is most excited about are called the "Finance Academy," which is being funded in part by a donation from National Penn Bank and the "Health Career Academy." The Finance Academy is geared towards students who are interested in becoming future bankers, entrepreneurs, international business people and accountants, while the Health Career Academy is for those students who are interested in becoming nurses in the growing medical field.

Seth Schram, principal of the high school, said that operations during the first day of classes were going smoothly, despite different drop-off times from sending districts, lunches, and the new students' nervousness.

"Things are flowing pretty well today," said Schramm. "And we are absolutely thrilled to be the first school of its kind in Pennsylvania."

Schram spent much of the morning patrolling the cafeteria and directing new students to their classes.

Students at the school mingle with college students throughout the day, in an environment that Schram said encourages a more "college prepared" attitude among the high school students.

However, attending high school students will have to adhere to many of the same traditional conduct rules as their fellow students at other sending districts.

Schram said high school students will wear special color-coded shirts in order to make them more identifiable to school officials.

College students will not have to wear any type of uniform, or adhere to conduct guidelines and are free to come and go as they please.

The community will have two opportunities to come and visit the new school in October. The dedication will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 22 from 5 to 9 p.m. and the "Grand Opening Celebration" will be held on Saturday, Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Both events are free and open to the public.

The Chester County Technical College High School is a free, public high school specializing in career and technical training and partnering with Delaware County Community College. High school students residing in the Oxford, Octorara, Avon Grove, Kennett and Unionville-Chadds Ford School Districts are eligible for enrollment.

For more information about the Chester County Technical College High School visit www.cciu.org.

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