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USC Salkehatchie, CCHS expand early college partnership

More Colleton County High School students will have the opportunity to earn a college degree while still a high school student thanks to an expanded partnership with USC Salkehatchie.

Currently, USC Salkehatchie offers dual enrollment classes at several area high schools where students can earn college credit but not necessarily a degree. The early college program provides a structured pathway for dually enrolled high school students.

“We’re excited to partner with the Colleton County School District to provide an early college experience for its students. Students will commit the summer before their junior year to earning both a high school diploma from CCHS and an Associates of Arts from USC Salkehatchie. Students will take specially selected classes with their cohort on the Salkehatchie campus,” Dr. Sarah Miller, interim associate dean for academic and student affairs, said.

Miller hopes the program will increase the number of CCHS students earning college degrees to around 25 each year by 2024. The class of 2022 had five college graduates: Iain Yahner, Alasia Stephens, Amariyan Persad, Genesis Frazier, and Lauren Reynolds.  Miller recognized these students at the CCHS graduation.

“They are college graduates. They graduated from college before they graduated from high school,” she said during the ceremony. “They worked independently with our dual enrollment coordinator to earn enough high school and college credits for their degrees. This is no small feat – it takes a lot of time, coordination, studying and commitment. They juggled high school and college courses, extracurricular activities, jobs, and, I hope, some fun.”

Colleton County School District Superintendent Vallerie Cave believes that this program will have a positive impact on CCHS students.

"The early college partnership is going to be paramount to the success of Colleton County students. It will expand opportunities for students to earn associate degrees in high school. USC Salkehatchie is opening doors for students to gain access to educational content to prepare them for lifetime careers,” Cave said. “We are excited about this partnership, and we look forward to the impact it will have on the lives of our youth. This partnership only makes our community stronger."

USC Salkehatchie will continue to offer dual credit classes for students who want to take challenging coursework but not necessarily earn a college degree. Students interested in participating in dual enrollment or the early college program should check with their school counselor to see if they are eligible.