OGDEN -- In the sixth grade, Laura Castro and her friends set a goal to go to college.
Their teachers, counselors and parents told them to shoot for the stars when they started middle school and to plan to go to college no matter what.
Last year, when their high school counselors told them about the International Baccalaureate program, which was coming to Ogden High School, they were intrigued.
But the six girls, who begin their junior year at Ogden High School on Monday, were faced with a dilemma: They were missing a full year of the required math courses needed to get into the IB program.
International Baccalaureate is a new program at the high school that allows students to take advanced, college level classes during their junior and senior years. If students pass the classes and the tests throughout the year, they can get up to two years of college credit.
When the girls told their counselors they really wanted to do the IB program, the counselors and administrators put their heads together and came up with a solution.
That's where math teacher Pat Martin came into the picture.
Martin said principal Stacey Briggs approached her with the idea to teach the girls every morning of the fourth term, at 7 a.m., and then teach them summer school for between two and five hours a day for two months.
Martin was thrilled with the idea.
"So many times kids don't seem to care, so when I had some students who did really care, I wanted to be a part of it," Martin said. "Sometimes I get discouraged because kids don't want to learn. I am excited these kids are so interested."
Martin sat like a proud parent as Castro and her friend Nallely Delgado talked about their summer and spring math experience in the school's commons area Friday afternoon.
Both girls said waking up early was the biggest challenge.
"(But) I would rather be doing that than a lot of other things," Castro said, laughing.
The girls give a lot of credit to Martin.
"She is one of the best," Castro said with a smile as she pointed to her teacher.
Now that the girls have completed the math course, they are eagerly anticipating the beginning of a fun, yet challenging, year in the IB program.
They shared stories about their summer homework assignments, which they were finishing in both literature and science. They also recently attended an IB camp, where they learned some stress management techniques and how to work in groups.
In all, 40 juniors will participate in the program this year -- an encouraging number, Briggs said.
"I am so proud of them," she said of the summer math students. "For young women to spend their summer doing challenging mathematics really says something."