At Buncombe County Early College (BCEC) and Buncombe County Middle College (BCMC), student interest groups are building friendships and improving leadership skills.
The student-led, student-built interest groups – from music to beekeeping to outdoor games to Dungeons and Dragons and more – meet each Friday throughout the Birch Building on A-B Tech’s campus. Through these interest groups the two schools intermingle and form a dynamic network. On Feb. 25, one group played card games while another designed posters to support Asheville Humane Society. Rock 'n' roll vibes drifted down the hallway from Mr. Todd Callaway’s social studies classroom, where the Music Interest Group set up a jam session of acoustic and electric guitars, along with a cajón for rhythm.
“The prospect of playing music in the school setting was really interesting to me,” said third-year BCEC student Matayah Pope. “I was in middle school band before this, so I was really excited to keep playing.”
Upstairs, the Yearbook Interest Group divided up their numerous organizational tasks in Ms. Anneliese Shreve’s English Language Arts classroom.
“This group is really fun, and a lot of my favorite people are here,” said second-year BCEC student Gracie Gates. “It’s great that there’s something inside the school every week that lets us go over ideas together.”
Each of the interest groups creates its own organizational structure, goals, and leadership positions, said Assistant Principal Lindsay Rice.
“For example, the community service group appoints project managers who assign tasks to other students to keep everyone on schedule,” she said. “This kind of self-driven organization really adds to the collegiate atmosphere we have here at BCEC and BCMC. It helps these students strengthen their networking and leadership skills.”
BCEC is a small, innovative school where students can graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree or college credential – all at no cost to their families. BCMC offers a similar, accelerated pathway to high school juniors and seniors who prefer a smaller, more intimate setting than a traditional high school environment.