SEABROOKE, Sc. (WSAV) – Out of 125 graduating seniors at Whale Branch High School, six are graduating Friday with not only a high school diploma, but a double associates degree to go with it.
The partnership program with TLC, or as the kids call “TLC Hunger Games”, starts students in college level courses their sophomore year.
“What really happened was this biology class that we get through, and we really were the last six in it,” said Destiny Hall, one of the six receiving the degree.
“This enables them to afford four-year college, not only that, but finish their four years in two years, and start on their graduate level masters degrees or PhD if they would like,” said Principal Mona Lisa Dickson.
Four of the students will be attending Clemson in the fall, one Winthrop, and the other the University of Arizona.
Four of the six are also the first in their family to attend college.
“I got two older brothers and we’re all two years apart, but I’m the youngest of them… so they’ve always went ahead of me and neither of them went to college, so I’ll be the first one to go to college in my family,” said Judah Wood.
And their dreams are much bigger than four years in college.
Attending Clemson in the fall with civil engineering, when I get out hopefully joining the army to be a commissioned officer ‘cause I wanna fly,” Thomas Vicuna.
“I am the youngest in my class, I just turned 17 this February,” said Hall, “I plan to go to Clemson in the fall and after that I want to go to medical school at Emory University, to become a doctor, a primary care physician… I just want to make my mom proud because it’s just me and her.”
And Principal Dickson says it’s not just family and school pride, but community pride.
“We’re also 100% free and reduced lunch,” said Dickson, “People who basically said it couldn’t be done here, we’re showing it that it can be done.”
There are also many other students graduating with college credits and the school counselor says the entire 2017 graduating class at Whale Branch has received about $5.2 million dollars in scholarships to attend college.