Five Darlington High School students will graduate with an Associate of Arts degree from Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) during Commencement on Thursday, May 11, 2017. The group of high school seniors marks the second class to ever graduate from the Early College program at FDTC. The 2017 graduating class from Darlington High School includes: Kinsley Chestnut, Christina Epps, Alexis Inman, Whitney Kirby and Matthew Williams.
The Early College program was formed in the summer of 2014, and according to Maggie Gause, FDTC’s Director of K-12 Relations, “Our goal is to provide high school students with an opportunity to earn college credit before they graduate from their high school.”
Students can earn an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree that’s taught in 8-week and 15-week sessions. Before completing the program, students must earn an overall grade of at least C to graduate.
Darlington High School student and college graduate Alexis Inman has an early start on her higher education career. Inman said, “I think it's a great program, and if you are prepared to take that next step in your high school career then the AA program is the thing for you. It is amazing to become friends with people who want to achieve the same goals you do.”
Gause points out that students and their families can save thousands of dollars by taking their first two years of college through the program. Gause said, “In some situations, families can even save close to $50,000 or even more, depending on the four-year college that the student intends on attending after graduating from FDTC.”
New college graduate Christina Epps agreed and said, “I think even though it can be challenging at times, it has been one of the best decisions in my life. I am still in awe in how much money and time I have saved before attending college.”
Seventy-one college hours are offered through the Early College program. Academic courses are taught on FDTC campuses, in high schools and online at the South Carolina Virtual College of FDTC for selected schools. The Darlington High School/FDTC class of 2017 has been accepted to a wide variety of four-year institutions.
Kinsley Chestnut wants to be an anesthesiologist once she graduates college. She has been accepted to Clemson University, Francis Marion University and the University of South Carolina.
Christina Epps aspires to be an attorney or actuary. She has been accepted to Benedict College, Claflin University, Coastal Carolina University, Coker College, Francis Marion University, Lander University, University of South Carolina, USC Aiken and Winthrop University.
Alexis Inman want to work in occupational therapy. She has been accepted to Francis Marion University and Wingate University.
Whitney Kirby wants to be a pediatric orthopedic surgeon when she graduates college. She has been accepted to Presbyterian College.
Matthew Williams aspires to own a business in the future. He has been accepted to Francis Marion University and University of South Carolina.