RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A Raleigh high school has a lot to brag about before the first bell of the year even rings for traditional Wake County schools.
Raleigh Charter High School just hit number 17 on 'Newsweek' magazine's most prestigious list of top high schools in the country.
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"The focus is on learning to become a citizen, to become somebody who makes and does and contributes to the world," said Raleigh Charter High's principal Lisa Huddleston.
The goal sounds a little lofty, but any of the 560 students who attend say the school makes it cool to learn.
"The atmosphere is, you really want to learn," said Brandon, a senior at RCHS. "You want to be successful and you want to better yourself as a citizen and be better outside of school."
Raleigh Charter consistently tops lists for the best and most challenging high school in the state.
"We mix it up," said another senior named Clara. "We don't have the same day every day, all year long. We have different things that make it exciting."
School at Raleigh Charter starts at 9 a.m. and is dismissed at 2:40 p.m. Classes are 45 minutes each, meaning no time to daydream.
"We talk to kids a lot about learning is not spectator sport, you have to participate, you have to dig in," Huddleston explained.
And tests are done differently at this school.
"Multiple choice tests, we don't really use Scantrons here, it's a lot of writing instead of ABCD, because in the real world, ABC doesn't exist, it's more about what you learn and how you use it," Brandon said.
So many students want to attend, they have to enter a lottery to get a seat. Nearly 1,000 apply every year, but fewer than 200 are picked.
"I feel very, very fortunate to get in. I was jumping up and down when I got my acceptance call," Brandon said.
Because it's a charter school, teachers don't have to be licensed. They just have to have academic or industry experience.
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'Newsweek' ranks Raleigh Charter High 17th in nation
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