SOUTH ST. PAUL, Minn. -- School at South St. Paul High School just started, but Jamar Suggs is already ahead of the game. By spring the senior will graduate with not one but three diplomas.
"My dad always tries to tell me where I came from and the history of African Americans and how this is a huge privilege," Suggs said.
Eighteen other seniors are on track to earn their high school and international baccalaureate diplomas as well as a two year college degree from Inver Hills Community College for free and without leaving the building.
"We're proud that they're able to stay right here in South St. Paul to be with their friends, continue to be a part of the band, choir or athletics," Superintendent Dave Webb said.
That's important for students like Hannah Hoven who is in three sports, band and choir.
"When its 5 a.m. in the morning and you're still doing homework you tend to question why you did it. But that's very rare and it's the days that are fun and just challenging that you work for and you love," Hoven said.
Many of the students on this track are expected to enter college with enough credits to be a junior.
"That's not only a costs savings but the courses you can take as a junior and there's opportunity to maybe double major," Conrad Anderson, the IB diploma program coordinator, said.
The workload can be overwhelming, just ask Suggs.
"A month or two into it I seriously questioned whether or not I could do it and I even had to talk to my mom," he said.
And that's when the real learning begins.
"One of the lessons in life that they have to learn is that things are out there. Do you want to go get it?'" principal Butch Moening said.
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