UPDATE: Earning degrees in high school: Breathitt County's Next-Generation Academy

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BREATHITT Co., Ky. (WYMT) - UPDATE: 4-9-15 11 p.m.

Partnering up for education is the goal of Breathitt County High School's Next-Generation Academy.

Principal Derek McKnight said the success of their first group of rising seniors is great. However, seeing the group of inductees Thursday gets him excited for what's next.

As of right now 13 students are participating in the partnership between the high school, Hazard Community and Technical College and Morehead State University.

Educators said it is going to be a transition for the students.

"There are going to be times that they question why they are doing this, but the end goal of that associate's degree and the high school diploma is going to be amazing," said McKnight.

Students in Breathitt County would like to have more than a high school diploma when they graduate.

This fall nearly one dozen high school students will begin classes at the Hazard Community & Technical College for the Next-Generation Academy.

Educators and students we spoke with said they are up for the challenge.

Christian Dennis and seven of his peers are the first group participating in Breathitt County High School's Next-Generation Academy.

"The fact that you can get two years of college while you're in high school just makes life a lot easier," said Christian Dennis.

The dual credit program partners with the Hazard Community and Technical College, Morehead State University and the University of Kentucky.

"Well it means that they really can have a head start on their future careers and educational goals, but it also means tremendous savings for parents as well," said HCTC President Dr. Stephen Greiner.

Those enrolled can earn enough college credit to graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree.

"The students will not have to pay anything," said Assistant Superintendent Timothy Spencer. "It will be covered through district money and programs already set aside for our students."

Educators said students will take a variety of courses to meet general education requirements.

"I want to go in the medical field and being in this program reduces the cost of college and it reduces the number of years I have to spend in college after high school," said student Ally Spencer.

Instructors said they are making sure the "Next-Generation" of Breathitt County Bobcats are ready for higher education.

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