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Early College Program Graduates First Cohort

Marion, SC, August 12, 2016– Eleven Marion County School District students will be earning two degrees this coming June. The first cohort for the Marion Early College Program located at Mullins High School will be walking the stage in June receiving both their High School Diploma and an Associate of Arts degree from Florence Darling Technical College. 

Sixteen high school freshmen embarked upon this journey in August of 2017.  Over the last four years, they have taken the classes they needed to earn their high school diploma as well as attending virtual classes or even driving to the FDTC campus to take the necessary classes for their Associate Degree.

All eleven students plan to attend a four-year program of higher learning upon graduation.  They will enter into those programs as a junior, having already satisfied the first two years of credits.

One such graduate, Ronisha Genwright, was accepted into six colleges including Clemson and the University of South Carolina.  She chose to attend Francis Marion University and will major in Computer Science.  Francis Marion recently named Genwright as their newest McNair Scholar earning her a full scholarship to the University.

“Taking college-level courses has helped me to develop many important skills such as creativity, adaptability, critical thinking, and time management”, commented Genwright. 

“The district designed this program to offer a choice to our high school students,” stated Superintendent Dr. Kandace Bethea. “We are so proud of our first cohort and the accomplishments they have made so far. We look forward to seeing where they take their journey from here.”

The fully funded, (it is free for the students) four-year program is open to rising 9th-grade students who successfully pass Honors English 1 and Honors Algebra 1 in 8th grade.  They also need to make a certain score on the Accuplacer Test, an evaluation tool used to assess student readiness for introductory credit-bearing courses, allowing the school to determine if the student will be successful in the program. Early College is designed to provide the curriculum needed to earn both a high school diploma and an Associate of Arts degree over the course of four years. The Associate degree can be transferred to any four-year institution of high learning allowing the student to enter as a junior.  This is not only a time-saving measure for the student but huge cost savings for families.

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