USC Upstate News

Scholars Academy At USC Upstate Announces Its First Class Of Students

08- 24- 2007

Scholars Academy 07Spartanburg , S.C. – Although they aren’t old enough to drive or vote yet, 25 students began taking classes at the University of South Carolina Upstate this week. They are in the first class of the new Scholars Academy, which is a partnership between the University and Spartanburg County's public school districts which allows academically advanced ninth-grade students to take courses on the college campus during their high school years. This enables the students to earn as many as 60 college credits upon graduation from high school, which means thousands of dollars potentially saved for parents.

The ninth graders participating in this year’s Scholars Academy include:

Boiling Springs High School

  • Erin Burnett of Boiling Springs, daughter of Ron Burnett
  • Parker Byrd of Boiling Springs, son of Kelly and Chris Byrd
  • Charles Ryan Hammett of Boiling Springs, son of Cheryl and Terry Hammett
  • Hilary Christine Martin of Boiling Springs, daughter of Laura and Gary Martin
  • Emily Garnet Sapier of Inman, daughter of Susan and John Sapier
  • Kara Alisha Smith of Boiling Springs, daughter of Kathy and Stephen Smith
  • Macy Tate of Boiling Springs, daughter of Susan and Rick Tate
  • Kayleigh J. Wall of Inman, daughter of Susie and Bob Wall

Broome High School

  • Katherine Mierek, daughter of Charles and Nancy Mierek

Byrnes High School

  • Brant Fortenberry of Greer, son of Paula and Brian Fortenberry
  • Dawson Rice, daughter of David and Bobbie Rice
  • Lindsey Wright, daughter of Dwayne and Angie Wright

Chapman High School

  • Dalton Ty Fowler of Campobello, son of Kathy and Thomas Fowler
  • Brandon Medley of Campobello, son of Sheila and Earl Medley
  • Kortney L. Schumann of Campobello, daughter of Kara and Tim Schumann

Chesnee High School

  • Benjamin Cash Horton of Chesnee, son of Carla and Terry Horton
  • Savanna Newman of Chesnee, daughter of Bridgett and Michael Miller

Dorman Freshman Campus

  • Saif Alimohamed of Spartanburg, son of Iqbal and Samina Alimohamed
  • Jonaca Cooper-Rookard of Una, daughter of Peggy Cooper and Johnny Rookard
  • Regina Ferris of Moore, daughter of Kathleen and David Ferris
  • Jayia Je’Col Hill of Spartanburg, daughter of Juana Newkirk
  • Nick Napier of Roebuck, son of Lori Napier and Sam Napier
  • Sydney Sullivan of Roebuck, daughter of Shelley Sullivan

Landrum High School

  • William Forrest Rossi of Landrum, son of Natalie and Bill Rossi
  • Madison Walter of Landrum, daughter of Lori and Todd Walter

There is no charge for students participating in the Scholars Academy. It is funded in part by a $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Secretary of Education under No Child Left Behind's Voluntary School Choice Program (VSCP) to help states and school districts create or expand public school choice initiatives.

Students begin their school days at their home high school and are then transported to USC Upstate where they will take core classes – English, American history, math and wellness/fitness – from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. To ensure that the Academy students are acclimated to a college campus, all 25 students will be grouped together during their first year to provide for a healthy psychological transition. During their second year and beyond, the students will be blended in classes with college students.

While more than half of their day will be spent on the University campus, these students still have the opportunity to take afternoon classes at their individual high schools as well as partake in sports, extracurricular activities and social events.

“Academically gifted students will truly benefit from the Scholars Academy,” said Dr. Scott Mercer, superintendent of Spartanburg District 2. “In this classroom, they will experience intellectual challenge among their high achieving peers that otherwise might not occur until their college years while maintaining connections and interactions with fellow students at their respective high schools. Additionally, this is an incredible financial benefit to parents in that these students will possibly enter college with half the credits needed to graduate.”

For more information about the Scholars Academy, contact Melissa DeLoach at (864) 503-5506 or