(left to right) Samuel Taylor, Isabella Ceccucci, Megan Lasley, and Lindsey Persaud all celebrate their graduation and completion of the HSCA program in May 2023. All 4 graduated from high school with an LSSC associate's degree and transferred to a Florida university to complete their bachelor’s degree. 

High school students from the five high schools in North Lake County looking to enroll in the Health Sciences Collegiate Academy can now participate in a new Leesburg Campus cohort. 

The Health Sciences Collegiate Academy (HSCA) offers an innovative program design that you can only find in Lake County. Through a partnership with Lake County Schools and other charter high schools, Lake-Sumter State College, and hospital partners such as Orlando Health South Lake Hospital and AdventHealth Waterman, students gain real-world experiences while pursuing their high school diploma and a STEM-focused associate’s degree. 

“Lake-Sumter State College and our HSCA partners are excited to achieve our goal of expanding the HSCA experience to North Lake County,” said Dr. Heather Bigard, President of Lake-Sumter State College. “Hosting a full cohort of students on the Leesburg campus affords us the opportunity to increase enrollment in this unique and rewarding acceleration program. Students who complete the HSCA program graduate high school with their associate degree and are two years ahead of their peers. More importantly, however, they also have a much clearer direction for their career path.” 

Students going into the 11th grade next year at Eustis, Leesburg, Mount Dora, Tavares, or Umatilla High Schools are eligible to apply for the program in North Lake.

“We are looking for students who want something different from the traditional high school experience,” says Hugh Hermann, director of the HSCA program. “Students with an unweighted GPA of 3.0 or higher and a strong interest in pursuing a career in health care or any STEM field would make a great fit for the HSCA program.” 

Additionally, HSCA students can still participate in extracurricular activities at their home high school, including athletics, band, homecoming, and prom. 

“LSSC appreciates Superintendent Kornegay, the Lake County School Board, and school leadership for their support in providing this credit acceleration pathway for motivated students enrolled in Lake County Schools,” said Dr. Bigard. “Together, we are truly making a difference in our community and transforming the lives of future generations.” 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that job growth within Central Florida will grow twice as fast as the national average over the next five years, and careers in health care will be a key driver for the growth in Lake County. 

“We appreciate the strong commitment from Orlando Health South Lake Hospital to building the HSCA program alongside us these past seven years,” said Dr. Bigard. “We look forward to the opportunity to expand our HSCA partnerships to both AdventHealth Waterman and UF Health Central Florida for the North Lake students.” 

Students and parents who would like to learn more about the HSCA program in North Lake can attend an online information session. Dates and details are available at www.lssc.edu/hsca. 

North Lake students currently enrolled in the HSCA on the College’s South Lake Campus will have the option to continue there for their senior year or transfer to the Leesburg Campus. 


About Lake-Sumter State College 

Founded in 1962, Lake-Sumter State College (LSSC) offers a high-quality education at an affordable price to the communities of Lake and Sumter counties. LSSC embraces its mission as a community college to increase access and opportunity for all learners in its community. As a proud member of the Florida College System, LSSC serves more than 7,500 students annually at three locations and online: Leesburg, South Lake (Clermont), and Sumterville. A fourth location in Four Corners will open in fall 2023. LSSC offers non-credit, certificate, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree programs designed to support and prepare students to pursue their goals and join Florida’s dynamic workforce. LSSC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Learn more about LSSC at www.lssc.edu. 


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