BLANKET — Blanket High School seniors Hope Heard and Bradley Ballenger will graduate twice this year.
    First they’ll graduate from Ranger College with associate of arts degrees, and then from Blanket High School with their high school diplomas.
    The best part for the soon-to-be graduates: their college degrees are tuition-free, school superintendent David Whisenhunt and school counselor Susan Talbert said.
    The Blanket school district offers tuition-free college to its students, in addition to paying for their textbooks. This allows students an exceptional opportunity to earn high school credit and college credit simultaneously, Whisenhunt and Talbert said.
    Whisenhunt  said he’s excited “to see students earn a top-notch education that will propel them toward higher degrees and greater earning potential.”
    Whisenhunt expects to expand the Blanket-Ranger partnership by accepting student transfers for students interested in attending school in Blanket, and will consider providing transportation from a centralized location in Brownwood for the 2017-’18 school year.  
    High school principal Kay Ribble said she’s seen how students can grow from the dual credit experience and expects the numbers to grow.
    Currently, about 40 percent of Blanket High School students are taking dual credit courses. The Blanket school board and administration are delighted with the Ranger College partnership, Whisenhunt and Talbert said.
    Talbert, who works with dual credit students, is new to the Blanket school district, coming from the  Grapevine-Colleyville district.
    Coming from a large district, Talbert said, her goal as counselor is for Blanket students to have the same college readiness opportunities that are available to students in larger districts, with a much more personalized approach.
    Talbert is the contact person for anyone with questions or who is interested in enrolling in Blanket. She can be contacted at 325-748-5311, ext. 505, or at susan.talbert@blanketisd.net .