Dickinson High School is a pioneer in paving new ways to help high schoolers excel in life. The school is offering an incredible opportunity for its students to get into their careers before they even graduate high school.

The Grand Forks Herald reports that Dickinson High School has a new academy model, allowing students to become certified dental assistants or firefighters. While the pandemic caused delays in getting the new programs underway, the dental assistance program began this past fall and the firefighter program will start this spring. Get the full story here.

When I was a senior in high school, I moved to Minnesota and did the post-secondary enrollment option. It was a way to get some of my college courses done while I was still in high school. But the school-to-work option is next-level, and this should be done everywhere. High school is meant to prepare students for the real world, so why not give them actual real world experience?

When I was a hairstylist in Colorado, I worked with a girl who was a licensed professional cosmetologist and she was barely 18. She attended cosmetology school while wrapping up her final year in high school, and graduated high school with an actual degree. And she was fully ready to take on the working world.

How incredible is that? I would have loved an opportunity, like this school-to-work option, in high school. An option like that is a great way to let high school students excel early in life and feel good about themselves. Schooling really should be more than memorizing textbooks and taking tests.

LOOK: Just some of the photos that capture the historic year that was 2020