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Calhoun County Public Schools and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College are teaming up to give high-achieving middle and high school students a chance to earn college credits and career credentials.

The new Calhoun County Honors Academy will open to its first class of seventh- and eighth-graders in the 2019-2020 academic school year. It will provide an academic atmosphere that supports the students’ transition into OCtech’s Early College.

The district has invited students who have demonstrated academic excellence to participate.

The district hopes to increase the number of college- and career-ready students who graduate from Calhoun County Public Schools.

“We are elated and appreciative of the school board and staff of the Calhoun County School District and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College for this partnership,” Calhoun County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve A. Wilson said.

“Their work has enabled our vision for initiating this new Honors Academy to become a reality. It is significant to highlight that the Honors Academy courses will be of no cost to the students and parents,” he said.

Depending on the model, some students will begin taking high school-level coursework in seventh and eighth grades.

Once in high school, they begin dual-enrollment college courses. Students may choose from four models – associate in arts, where they have the opportunity to graduate high school with 68 college credit hours and an associate in arts degree; traditional early college, where they can earn up to 33 college credit hours; and certified nursing assistant or basic welding, which offers students a chance to earn those certificates through OCtech.

“We are excited about this new opportunity students will have to begin their college careers early through Calhoun County Honors Academy,” OCtech President Dr. Walt Tobin said.

“OCtech’s Early College saves students – and their families – time and money. Students also reap other benefits, such as improved study skills and an easier transition into college coursework. The college credits they earn in high school will not only transfer to OCtech, but to all public and most private colleges and universities in the state. We work closely with all of our students to help them reach their academic and career goals,” he said.

As the academy expands, additional degree and certification pathways will be added.

A meeting for invited parents and students as well as others interested in the Calhoun County Honors Academy will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, June 3, in Roquemore Auditorium in Building R on the OCtech campus.

For more information about OCtech’s Early College, visit octech.edu/academics/early-college.

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