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Angels Camp – Some Calaveras County students will not only get their diplomas on graduation day but a college degree as well – and for free.

San Joaquin Delta College is now offering an Early College Pathway program where Calaveras families can save on the expense of the first two years of college while students get a jump start on education or employment, depending on their pathway of choice. Dr. Jessie Graza-Roderick started the program 21 years ago, and current enrollment is 3,500 students. It has been operating at college for the past eleven years.

“This program helps students start making their own educational decisions earlier,” said Dr. Garza-Roderick. “In the years that we have been providing this pathway, it has become apparent that it provides educational opportunities to students who would not have had them otherwise.”

Recruitment for the virtual program begins in eighth grade and students who enroll can complete an Associate Degree in Math and Science at the same time they are earning their high school diploma. School officials say it is catered to each student’s educational and vocational goals with a support system in place for them and their parents, which consists of a counselor assigned to assist the student throughout the entire process.

Superintendent of Schools Scott Nanik shared, “We are now able to provide programs to students in Calaveras County that have traditionally only been available in more populated areas. We want Calaveras students to have those same opportunities, and now we are even closer to achieving that goal.”

Students must begin the program their freshman year of high school to complete the four-year track with an Associate Degree. Students work the program on their own time, which still allows them time for extra-curricular activities, like sports, according to school officials. Interested parties can get details on the program and upcoming information sessions by emailing their name, email, phone number, and high school name to