As a state with one of the oldest populations in the nation, West Virginia needs its young people more than most.

In an effort to keep West Virginia’s best and brightest home for college and careers, West Virginia University and George Washington High School in Charleston are taking the first steps in a new program that will give high school students an early exposure to college course work and the careers that have caught their interest.

George Washington High School’s new Patriot University Program, named after the high school’s mascot, is a collaborative program to instruct students in the areas of engineering, medicine, business and accounting, and education.

Keith Garbutt, dean of the WVU Honors College, points out the value of these programs to the University down the line.

“When high-achieving students are academically challenged in high school, they are more likely to succeed when they reach a university, especially in the STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] fields,” Garbutt said.

WVU intends to make this the first in a series of programs that reaches out to schools across the state, said Ryan Claycomb, an assistant dean in the Honors College who worked with the high school on the program.

“Making connections with high-achieving students in high schools makes it more likely that those students are going to come to WVU and that they are going to stay in the state long-term,” Claycomb said. “This is good not just for the students of West Virginia, but it’s good for West Virginia.”

The program will commence in the 2013-14 school year, starting with the engineering track for students in 12th grade. Each year, grades and subjects will be added until all four grades and subjects are covered.

“This is a natural collaboration between George Washington High School and WVU to showcase our best and brightest students and prepare them for the economic challenges and opportunities they will meet in the 21st century,” said the high school’s principal, George Aulenbacher.

The program will help prepare the students for college courses in their fields with workshops and lessons taught in conjunction with University faculty and will give them an opportunity to meet and learn from professionals working in those fields.

The WVU Honors College is working with other University departments to offer the students in the program as many learning opportunities as possible.



CONTACT: Ryan Claycomb; assistant dean, WVU Honors College

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