TULSA, Oklahoma - There was a little surprise party for 55 Union ninth graders Tuesday morning.

The freshmen are the first class of a groundbreaking new program between Tulsa Community College and Union Public Schools.

"It's gonna give me a head start to college,” said Chase.

Chase said less time in school means more time to make money.

Fifty-four other students at the Union 9th Grade Center were accepted into this pilot program which will offer these students in the class of 2021 the opportunity to earn an associate degree from Tulsa Community College while earning their high school diploma.

Most stories lately about public education have been pretty negative; this one is different.

"We can't always control what happens at 23rd and Lincoln, but we can control what happens within the 28 square miles of Union Public Schools,” said Dr. Kirt Hartzler.

What they've done is partner with Tulsa Community College to expand concurrent enrollment opportunities into a full-fledged program called Early College High School, so when they graduate, they'll have two degrees. Students are excited.

“I want to be in the psychology field,” said one student. “I want to help people, so I'm going to do that now."

The college classes will be taught by TCC faculty with support from Union teachers and staff. TCC and Union will share the costs of this pilot program.