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WKU, Barren County High School create Capstone Scholars Program

The seed has been planted and the first crop will be ready to harvest next spring.

WKU President Gary Ransdell (left) and Barren County Superintendent Bo Matthews signed an agreement creating a Capstone Scholars Program in agriculture and chemistry on Sept. 20. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

WKU and Barren County High School signed an agreement Thursday (Sept. 20) creating a Capstone Scholars Program in agriculture and chemistry. The program will allow students at Barren County High to earn up to 19 college semester hours of dual credit beginning in spring 2013.

That’s one-sixth of a bachelor’s degree, WKU President Gary Ransdell said. “This program not only gives students a head start, but prepares them well for a dynamic degree from WKU,” he said.

“These are the kind of partnerships that define institutions,” he said. “There is magic and opportunity being created with this partnership.”

Barren County Superintendent Bo Matthews said the signing marks a new beginning. “Some may see this as a small step for the Barren County school system, but I contend today marks the beginning of a new level of learning and opportunity for our students interested in a career path in agri-business,” he said.

This is the second Capstone Scholars Program for WKU. The first was with Fort Thomas Highlands High School in the area of communication.

“While the WKU Ag Capstone Scholars Partnership may be unique to Barren County High School, it can certainly be replicated in any high school in the state of Kentucky,” Matthews said. “Today, however, we happen to be the trailblazers.”

State Rep. Johnny Bell called the program “another great partnership that will move us forward by leaps and bounds.”  He praised the school’s FFA chapter as one of the best in the country. “It is used as an example of what we want to achieve in Future Farmers of America and this partnership with Western Kentucky University will benefit those students and will benefit our community and will help move us forward in a very positive way,” he said.

“This is a fresh new approach to what I call the intersection of disciplines,” State Sen. David Givens said. “We have the discipline of education and the discipline of agriculture intersecting here on this Barren County High School campus.”

The Capstone Scholars Program will provide positive change for the future of education and agriculture, and will prepare those future leaders, he said.

“The foundational knowledge that they will receive through this program is something that will put them on the right path for the rest of their lives and ultimately chart the right path for their communities,” Givens said.

Contact: Sally Ray, (270) 659-6900.

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