Thousands of seniors across the country are leaving their high school careers in the rearview this month, and dozens of those graduating from a Norco high school will have a leg up on the competition.

Sixty-eight graduating seniors from John F. Kennedy Middle College High School will receive their high school diplomas on Thursday, and will be awarded Associate’s Degrees only two weeks later thanks to the school’s partnership with Norco College.

Students at JFK can earn up to two years of college units before graduating high school. They can begin taking those courses immediately in their first year of attendance at the school.

School officials say many of the grads parlay that experience into four-year schools or springboard directly into the workforce with a head start. The school says 85% of its graduates are usually accepted into universities.

As part of the program, JFK students have direct access to college counselors on site, where they receive guidance to create a plan to take the necessary courses to obtain an associate’s degree.

Tuition is covered entirely by Norco College, although students have to pay for their own textbooks and about $35 in fees each term.

In total, the 68 seniors have 239 degrees between them, having taken 4601 course units, and saved more than $210,000 in tuition costs.

JFK is part of the Corona-Norco Unified School District, which serves more than 53,000 students and consists of 48 schools of various level and focus. The high school’s graduation is taking place Thursday at the Norco High School stadium.