This piece originally aired on NBC

Three area schools have received recognition for their college-readiness initiatives.

“They’re learning the skills needed to apply to college, questions to ask when they go on college interviews,” Saranac High School Principal Steven Grenvill said.

CFES Brilliant Pathways, a New York-based organization that helps connect educators to college preparedness resources, honored Crown Point Central School, Saranac High School and Ticonderoga Middle and High School as “Schools of Distinction.”

Around 60 students are designated members of the CFES program, enrolled in grades nine through 12.

According to CFES, schools “must fulfill a meticulous and varied set of criteria.”

Saranac teachers bring a variety of resources, opportunities and people to campus to help spark students’ interest in higher education.

They also take students to college campuses to introduce them to the registrar and financial aid office.

Grenvill said some of the students involved in their CFES program never considered going to college before being introduced to the idea through this initiative.

“There are a lot of students out there in our district, and I think this goes for every district, that do not have the opportunities that others do,” he said. “We identify those kids who really with a little guidance and a little bit of pushing, so to speak, might be able to attend college and end up having a good-paying job if we just give them a little bit of help.”

Grenvil said opportunities are made available to all students, but that organizers are keenly aware of the students who might need an extra push, from students in low income families to children who lack strong adult role models.

After three successful years of the program, staff are taking it a step further.

“We’re taking them on field trips to places, Swarovski. We’re taking them to Nova Bus,” Grenvill said. “We’re taking them to a variety of different businesses, so they can get an idea of what goes on there and what it takes to become an employee of those business.”

Saranac High School has received the “Schools of Distinction” honor two years in a row.

“When you take a look at these kids and their sense of wonder and their sense of realization that ‘Hey it’s possible that I could go to college or it’s possible I could work in an industry in the area and make a good wage and make a good living,” he said. “(One of the things that is amazing is) the look on their faces as they walk through the factories or through a college campus and realize,’This is doable. I can really do this.'”