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High school students in New Hanover County will be able to take college-level classes at Ashley High's new Marine Science Academy. It's a dream come true for teacher Sandy Cecelski.

Thanks to Sandy Cecelski’s fulfilled dream and the hard work that brought it to fruition, Taylor White hopes to get a head start on college next year as a senior. White, a 16-year-old who lives near Carolina Beach, plans to enroll next year in Ashley High School’s Marine Science Academy – Cecelski’s dream – and will earn six hours of college credit at for the rigorous college-level courses taught at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Cape Fear Community College and in the field. “Growing up here, near the water, I’ve always been interested in the ocean and marine science,” White, a junior, said. “I have taken Ms. Cecelski’s classes, and that got me even more interested. I’m possibly interested in a career in marine science, and this is such a great opportunity to learn more about it and to get college credits.” The academy was developed by Kenneth Bowen, former principal at Ashley, and Cecelski, a member of the N.C. Coastal Federation’s Board of Directors who has taught marine science and oceanography classes in New Hanover County for 25 years. Although the academy – approved and funded at $50,000 by the New Hanover Board of Education earlier this year – is a relatively new concept in public education, Cecelski said developing a program like it in high school has been in the back of her mind for more than two decades.


Coastal Review