HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A group of students from Butler and Lee High Schools are forfeiting two weeks of their summer break to learn how to "ace" a test that could determine their future.
This is the first year for the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Summer Institute.
Volunteer staff members are teaching competitive students math and science and secrets to taking the ACT test.
The students finish the first week on Friday, June 28, with a visit to Vanderbilt University.
Already, they've toured Adtran to learn more about the working world and how to obtain the jobs they want.
And the students admit giving up two weeks of summer break has been worth it.
"A couple of days ago, I knew what I wanted to be, but I wasn't so sure that I was going to be able to get there," said Lena Cheatham, who is going into her senior year at Butler High School. "Now I know with the help of this program, I will be able to get where I want to go."
Whitney Oksahjo, who will be a senior at Lee High School in the fall agreed and has been impressed with all that she has learned in the first week. "There was a lot of stuff that I learned about colleges and I even changed what I want to do when I grow up," she said.
She plans to pursue Biomedical Engineering.
Cheatham wants to be a Pediatric Surgeon.
Staff members say their goal is to help the students improve their ACT scores by four points.
The students have already taken the math and science portion of the test when they began the course and they'll take it again at the end so staff can track their progress.
School District officials hope to expand the program to other schools in the future.