CiCi’s Pizza in Aurora is partnering with Aurora Public Schools and Community College of Aurora to promote a program that offers a way for cash-strapped families to give their kids a head start on a college education.

On Monday, Nov. 17, from 5 to 7 p.m., Aurora Public Schools Superintendent John Barry and Community College of Aurora President Dr. Linda Bowman will spar in a game of Dueling Pizzas for Dual Enrollment at the CiCi’s Pizza restaurant at 14000 E. Mississippi Ave. in Aurora. Barry and Bowman will be judged on their pizza-making skills as representatives of both agencies share information with students and their families on the benefits of the dual enrollment program.

Under the program, high school juniors and seniors in Aurora can take classes that also fulfill community college requirements, and come away with college credits. The CiCi’s event is timed to raise awareness before students begin the January registration for the 2008-2009 school year.

“If you map out your high school curriculum properly, you can walk across the stage and get your high school diploma and your associate’s degree from Community College of Aurora at the same time,” says CiCi’s franchisee Quinn Newhall, whose store is hosting the event. “Especially in these tight economic times, when families are struggling to find a way to pay for college, all of our high school students and their families need to know about this program.”

Last year, two Aurora seniors graduated with dual degrees, out of 20 students in the district who took advantage of dual enrollment. The others came away with at least some college credits, said Tim Wilkerson, College Pathways Coordinator for Community College of Aurora, and this year dual enrollment has grown to 139 students. Under the program, students take some classes at their high schools and some at the community college, with tuition covered by the district.

“The push is to get them as much college credit as possible,” Wilkerson says.

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