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First Cohort of Orangeburg Advanced College

Orangeburg Advanced College (OAC) named 26 rising ninth-grade students to its first cohort to begin their experience in fall 2021.

The District and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College (OCtech) announced their partnership in establishing this progressive educational experience for highly-motivated students in October, 2020.

OAC students will graduate in four years with not only a high school degree, but also a two-year associates degree in arts or sciences without financial cost to the student or family.

More than 50 students applied and 26 were selected through a competitive application process that considered academic performance, behavior, parent/legal guardian engagement, recommendations, personal essays, interviews, and self-reported interests and activities. A team of district professionals plus a representative from the South Carolina State Department of Education comprised the selection committee.

The inaugural cohort includes representation from nearly every middle school in the county with 17 female and nine male students. Of the accepted students, nine are Caucasian, 16 are African American, and one is Asian.

Congratulations to the following Orangeburg Advanced College students: Teonna Allen, David Barden, Andrew Blyther, Catherine Brunson, Chelsea Byrd, Drayton Carson, Emily Crider, MiCayla Darby, Alexandria Fogle, Alyx Foster, Mallory Garrick, Riley Glenn, Cae’lah Hair, Melven Hart, DeVaughn Lawes, Bre’Aun Mack, Mason McCormack, Ally Nelson-Pritcher, Ashwin Pradeep, Jerniyah Richardson, Adrianna Smith, Alayshia Turner, Ryleigh Vosburg, Hannah White, Elijah Williams, and JoyAnna Williams.

On June 2, 2021, OAC hosted a student and parent orientation meeting along with a tour of the OCtech campus.  During this meeting, students and parents toured the campus, received program information on academic schedules, and students completed their admissions application.

“We are excited about the talented pool of 26 students that represent all areas of Orangeburg County,” Stephanie Alford, OAC Coordinator commented.

Alford says she is looking forward to August when OAC will welcome a student from Branchville Middle/High, six from Carver-Edisto Middle, two from Elloree Middle, three from Holly Hill-Roberts Middle, four from Hunter Kinard Tyler Middle/High, three from North Middle High, three from Robert E. Howard Middle, three from William J. Clark Middle, and one student who is transferring from outside of the District ahead of the 2021-2022 school year.

“I am excited about this opportunity for our students in Orangeburg County,” Alford continued. “We are proud to say that we have a stellar group of scholars who have accepted the challenge of accelerated coursework. With the support of their parents, and our program partners, the community will soon witness the impact of the Orangeburg Advanced College Program.”

OAC is designed to advance future academic and career goals in a rigorous and supportive manner characteristic of the K-12 educational setting. Part of that support will include an adult mentor to help each student develop a greater sense of self-awareness, and assist them in cultivating their passions. Individuals in all career fields who are interested in mentoring an OAC student are encouraged to email Stephanie.Alford@ocsdsc.org for additional information.

“Mentorship has the power to impact the course of students’ academic and personal lives and helps them make sense of their futures,” Alford commented. “Students will benefit in so many ways from their mentoring relationship; the experience for mentors can be equally life-changing.”