Education center at Universal Orlando helps students soar

Orange County students learn in non-traditional setting

ORLANDO, Fla. – The last time you rode one of the roller coasters at Universal Orlando, you may not have realized you were soaring over a high school.

The Universal Education Center on Universal Orlando property is a partnership with Orange County Public Schools. It's a school-to-work program that offers schooling outside the traditional setting. The center just celebrated the opening of a new facility.

Olivia Davis, a high school senior, said she arrives each day around 8 a.m. for three hours of classes. From there, she breaks for lunch, then heads to her job on property for three hours.

"I didn't know it was even a thing until I started working at Universal Orlando. Had no idea about it until a former team captain who came to this school told me about it," Davis said.

Davis said prior to attending the school, she planned to go into the medical field. Now, thanks to what she's learned through her Universal mentor, Cat Storey, she's interested in the creative field.

"My plan is to go to college, intern here at Universal and go into a career like that. And without Universal Education Center I wouldn't have been able to meet Cat and see that and walked though the making, basically, of Universal," said Davis.

The center's lead teacher said the program is a good fit for students who want an opportunity outside of traditional schools and who have a strong desire to work. Each student works 15 hours a week in the park.

Clo Cooper, of Apopka, said she just started at the school in August.

"I have preferred seating and I need a lot of help in math, and now I have an 'A' in math. I've never done that before. And I get paid to go to school. I think that's amazing," she said.

If you're interested in learning more about Universal Education Center, visit Orange County Public Schools. 

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