Educational seeds planted five years ago blossomed this week with the first graduation of State College of Florida Collegiate School students.
The tuition-free charter school allows students to earn both a high school diploma and two-year associates degree from SCF at the same time.
Plus, SCF enjoys a unique association with Florida Gulf Coast University, one that lets graduates acquire a bachelor's degree -- again, tuition-free.
What a sweet deal in this age of soaring college costs that leave students mired in debt.
Thursday night's 56 graduates are on a fast track to a career.
Upon opening in 2010 with only sixth- and seventh-graders, SCFCS became the first collegiate middle school in the nation.
SCFCS added higher classes in ensuing years.
Anyone blessed with the opportunity to tour the collegiate school and talk to staff and students will walk away impressed.
SCFCS focuses on nurturing innovation in teaching and learning with demanding and rewarding teaching -- with a customized, student-centered education. State-of-the-art technology permeates the campus. Think iPads instead of textbooks, for one thing.
Open only six months in 2010, the State Board of Education lauded SCFCS during a meeting on campus. Today, that praise would no doubt be elevated considering all the accomplishments of these graduates.
Congratulations to these high-achieving graduates and to SCF President Carol Probstfeld.
Parents should take note that this collegiate school offers a rare opportunity for their children.