By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4)– It may look like a normal science class at Denver’s Manual High School, but these students are earning more than just a high school diploma.

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“It’s just really an eye opener,” said Tenaja Franklin, a student enrolled in the Med School program, “And it’s also just like another way to get out.”

(credit: CBS)

The Med School Program at Manual gives high school students a head start on a career.

“I’ve learned a lot. I’m CPR certified. I’ve seen first aid,” said Franklin.

Students take advanced classes that let them explore the medical field.

(credit: CBS)

Franklin thinks it’s a great way to spend her time, “It’s fun and amazing to get a lot of opportunities.”

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Participating in this program also allows students to earn an associate degree while they are still in high school. Letting students achieve something they thought was impossible.

(credit: CBS)

“I never thought I’d be able to have a high school diploma and an associate degree and be certified in a field,” said Franklin.

It’s also a great opportunity for students who may not be able to afford college.
“It creates equity,” said Elina Martinez, the Career Technical Education program director. “Inner city students are getting to have the playing field leveled for them.”

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For students like Tenaja, that can be a life changing opportunity.

After her experience with the program, Franklin has some advice for her peers, “For people coming into high school thinking ‘I don’t know if I will go to college’ you can! You just have to put your mind to it.”

Manual High School (credit: CBS)

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Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.