WEST JEFFERSON — For the 2021-22 school year, Ashe Early College High School has incorporated a new type of hands-on learning experience for students in the form of “Flex Fridays.”

“The purpose is to take learning experiences out of the building and into our community and beyond,” said Principal Lindsey Williams. “Flex Fridays will provide Ashe County students an avenue to interact with their environment and to build relationships within our community. We are hoping to be able to visit colleges and local businesses as well so that students can explore their educational and career options.”

AECHS’ first “Flex Friday” of the year was on Aug. 20, when students hiked Mount Jefferson and engaged in a presentation by Park Ranger Tom Randolph. Randolph spoke with students about the ecology of the mountain and Ashe County.

The following week, on Aug. 27, AECHS teamed up with Zaloo’s Canoes and New River Conservancy to clean approximately 10 miles of the New River.

AECHS Administrative Assistant Stacey Jenkins said it was an amazing experience for students to not only see the amount of trash that collects in the New River, but most importantly to be a part of keeping Ashe County beautiful.

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