CARTERET COUNTY -

From the outside, Cape Lookout Marine Science Charter High School looks like any normal school, but it's what goes on inside that sets it apart.

"We have marine art, marine history, math, business, resources and everything relating to marine sciences." said principal, Teresa Parker.

A few years ago, Cape Lookout Marine Sciences High School, had a dropout rate of 53%. The school was on the verge of closing. Teachers and administrators got together to figure out what would keep the kids in the classroom. With more focus on marine life, students learn about the environment that surrounds them along the Crystal Coast. Last year's dropout rate has fallen to 27 percent and Ms. Parker will send off the numbers for this school year in October.

"The students are willing to come to class. They want the education." said Ms. Parker.

The ocean comes to life in the classroom. It's a neighbor the kids have had for most of their lives.

"There are a lot of resources at our disposal. Most of the kids here have grown up going to the beach or working on a shrimp boat. They probably have more experience than the normal person around here." said art teacher, Samantha Tuttle.

Each student will go through several marine science classes. They can start by creating fish in art class to getting the boating license their senior year. People from the marine community have come in to help the students and share their expertise.

Ciara Heuser is a junior and wants to become a marine biologist. She enjoys the 'sea worthy' classes.

"We live here so we might as well study what's around us." said Ciara.

If you are a parent and would like to tour Cape Lookout Marine Science High School, Ms Parker says all you have to do is come visit. The school is always open and so are the classrooms.

TORI TIDBIT: Cape Lookout High School started in 1998. There are 69 students enrolled this school year.