Some are earning college credit and learning skills that could help them land a job.
Courtney Lee is a senior at E.E. Smith High School in Fayetteville. Every day, in addition to learning math, science and English, she and six other students learn how to fight fires.
"I didn't want to take a boring elective so I wanted to do something different instead up just being in a classroom," Lee said.
"The program's extremely hands-on. We're learning how to become firefighters in a high school which is a major plus," E.E. Smith student, Robert Rhodes added.
The students are part of the fire science academy at E.E. Smith. It is one of more than 70 choice programs available to students at 47 Cumberland County Schools.
"An academy like that partners with Fayetteville Technical Community College so that when students are taking classes in the academies, they also are receiving college credit," Wanda McPhaul with Cumberland County Schools said.
Cumberland County offers academies in math and science, public safety and law enforcement, engineering and medical care.
E.E. Miller is also a school of choice for two reasons. It's a year round school and it's also a place where kindergartens can learn Spanish as a second language.
"Mi gusta habla Espanol porque hablar con mi mama y mi papa," E.E. Miller student, Victoria Foster said.
Victoria says she loves to speak Spanish so she can talk with her mom and dad.
The Spanish Immersion Program is where the children speak Spanish in the classroom all day.
"We're the first school in Cumberland County to offer the Spanish Immersion Program. And it's a partnership with SPLASH... language immersion programs out of Chapel Hill," E.E. Miller Principal, Tonya Page said.
There is one hitch with the school of choice; parents have to provide transportation for students who attend academies out of their school district.