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Inside the first regional state school in Plymouth

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PLYMOUTH, N.C. - A new public high school in the East is completely focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The Northeast Regional School of Biotechnology and Agriscience is the first regional school in North Carolina.

In its second year, it’s funded by tax dollars and grant money and serves students in Beaufort, Martin, Pitt, Tyrrell and Washington counties.

More than 110 students fill its two buildings on the Vernon G. James Research and Extension Center in Plymouth.

Students there are confident they have future careers in STEM.

“I want to be a geneticist,” said Kaela Sykes, a freshman from Tyrrell County.

As for Beaufort County freshman Simon Harris:  “Agricultural engineer or biomedical engineer.”

 “I want to work in the medical field so a doctor or something like that,” said Beaufort County freshman, Rosario Lilley.

Each is a freshman at the Northeast Regional School of Biotechnology and Agriscience (NERSBA).

For Lilley, the existence of this school is a dream come true.

“It concentrates more on something that I’m interested in. In high school you have to take all these classes, but here it concentrates on math and science and engineering and all that,” said Lilley.

When these students graduate, they’ll have accumulated two years of college credit.

 “About 60% of our student body is what I define as true ‘first generation’ college families,” said NERSBA principal, Hal Davis. “Legislation of creating the school is to serve as an economic stimulus of Eastern North Carolina.”

While students are in math class one day, they may be out in the corn field tomorrow learning hands on, how they can apply a math problem to agriscience.

“We are dealing with real life situations,” said math teacher, Christi Rogerson. “We’re not just solving a problem by using algorithms; we’re actually applying it to something in real life.”

Only nine months into her freshman year, Lilley says she’s already accomplished a lot and can’t wait for what’s next.

“Going through all of these classes, I’m really proud of myself. It’s hard but if you put your mind to it, you can go through,” said Lilley.

This month, administrators are going through applications for next year's freshman class. They hope to bring in another 65 students and also hire about six more staff members.

Click here to learn more about NERSBA and the application process.

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