Three years ago when Ari Oviedo was about to enter high school, he learned about the possibility of earning college credits early and took advantage of it. "I signed up for college in 8th grade. When I saw there was an opportunity to get free credits I thought 'why not?' I decided it was a fantastic opportunity. Ever since then it's been a really interesting ride."
Oviedo is a member of the East Syracuse Minoa School District's Spartan Academy. He's simultaneously working toward his high school diploma and his associate degree. This summer he's one of 42 Spartan Academy students taking classes on the Onondaga Community College campus.
Spartan Academy students arrive shortly after 8 a.m., take two classes, eat lunch, and head home. Oviedo's two classes are Pre-Calculus and Intro to Psychology. "Coming here and getting this premature college experience is very interesting. It's been very enjoyable."
In the fall Oviedo will be a junior at East Syracuse Minoa High School. He plans to continue earning college credits as part of Spartan Academy, but knows he'll have a big decision to make as he considers his college options. "Engineering and the law have always been two big passions for me. I'll have to decide if I want to stick with mechanical engineering or go into law."
Whatever the future holds for him, he hopes the 8th graders of tomorrow will follow in his footsteps and choose Spartan Academy. "If you are determined in your education you should definitely go for it. You'll be going into college with credits. And you'll never feel like you're missing out on anything by being here during the summer. We get Friday's and weekend's off. There's plenty of time to do other things."