The purpose of this case-based qualitative study is to examine the perceptions high students about a unique school-university in the rural Appalachian region of Southeast Ohio. The partnership C.A.R.E., or Creating Active, Reflective Educators, is a democratic oriented program (based on the concepts of educational philosopher John Dewey) between Ohio University and Federal Hocking Local Schools. This partnership has received national recognition from the National Association of Professional Development Schools and from the National Network for Educational Renewal. The study explores high school students’ perceptions of teacher candidates (i.e. professional interns), engaged in sustained clinical immersion in their rural, Appalachian public school. Utilizing qualitative, semi-structured interviews and student focus groups, the data collected from this student reveal the impact and potential of the CARE program on their students’ learning and efficacy. In this paper we present the research findings relating to how students view the impact of teacher candidates on their Social/Cultural Development, the Nature of Methods (for example, project- and place-based learning), the Impact on Curriculum Delivery, the Development of Democratic Efficacy, and Partnerships for Social Justice and Equity in Appalachian Schools.