Aiken Scholars Academy Welcomes Talented, Diverse Second Cohort of Scholars for 2019-20 School Year
Story courtesy of Aiken County Public School District
Aiken, SC (05/04/2019) — The Aiken County Public School District is pleased to announce that the Aiken Scholars Academy Selection Committee has offered and placed its second freshman cohort of 50 students, whose arrival in August will mark the start of the second year at Aiken County's most exclusive high school.
The Aiken Scholars Academy (ASA) is a groundbreaking collaboration between Aiken County Public Schools and the University of South Carolina Aiken to create an academic school of excellence unlike any other in the Southeast. The Academy, located on campus at USC Aiken, offers advanced students an engaging educational experience that introduces and then immerses them into the collegiate environment beginning in their first year of high school as freshmen.
"Taking on such an accelerated and rigorous curriculum means these students are looking for the best available academic challenges, and I look forward to meeting and speaking with each of them," commented Aiken Scholars Academy Principal Martha Messick.
"As we get to know our newest students and their families more in the weeks and months ahead, I know they will be excited to learn about all we have been able to accomplish during our first academic year."
All students entering the academy are currently enrolled in English 1. Students are also enrolled in advanced mathematics coursework, Geometry (44) or Algebra 1 (6). Thirty-six students out of the 50 are enrolled in four different world languages: French (4), German (5), Serbian (1) and Spanish (28); one student has taken three languages and ten students have had several years of the same language (French and Spanish). A number will have a full computer science credit by the end of the current school year, and several students will bring in additional elective credits as well.
The Aiken Scholars Academy's second cohort of students is a diverse group of 50 outstanding students. Of the 50 accepted applicants, 32 are female and 18 are male. The accepted applicants represent the following ethnicities: Asian, Black/African American, Caucasian, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, and Two or More Races. The students represent almost every middle school in the county, along with international, parochial, private, and virtual school students.
The following students have been selected to attend the Academy:
- Johnathan Anderson (Paul Knox Middle);
- Shea Bolt (LBC Middle);
- Austin Brenneman (North Augusta Middle);
- Lianna Brost (Horse Creek Academy);
- Kennedy Brown (Kennedy Middle);
- Jaylen Bunch (North Augusta Middle);
- Alexander Burdett (Ridge Spring-Monetta Middle);
- Monae Burns (North Augusta Middle);
- Irulan Coleman (Aiken Middle);
- Michelle Dent (Jackson STEM Middle);
- Luka Djolic (International School, Serbia);
- Logan Edwards (North Augusta Middle);
- Conner Entzminger (Mead Hall Episcopal School);
- Kylee Fonseca (Leavelle McCampbell Middle);
- Amanda Glenn (North Augusta Middle);
- Lexi Goodwin (Kennedy Middle);
- Emily Heath (Aiken Middle);
- Savill Jensen (North Augusta Middle);
- Bailey Kirkland (Kennedy Middle);
- Reece Kirkland (Kennedy Middle);
- Carsen Lacombe (North Augusta Middle);
- Zephanae Liis (Kennedy Middle);
- Kara Loyd (Kennedy Middle);
- Brandon Luther (Kennedy Middle);
- Lainy Maciejewski (Horse Creek Academy);
- Mariko Maja (Kennedy Middle);
- Avah Martinez (Horse Creek Academy);
- Mika Mayo (Jackson STEM Middle);
- Maddison McCall (New Ellenton STEAM Middle);
- Elizabeth McClain (Jackson STEM Middle);
- Andrew McCord (LBC Middle);
- Gavin McGillivary (North Augusta Middle);
- Kaia McMullen (St. Mary's Help of Christians School);
- Emmanuel Nwachukwu (Schofield Middle);
- Bryan Outlaw (North Augusta Middle);
- Savannah Parler (Jackson STEM Middle);
- Isabella Peralta (St. Mary's Help of Christians School);
- Andrew Putman (Paul Knox Middle);
- Sean Rose (Paul Knox Middle);
- Shelton Schutte (Kennedy Middle);
- Kaeleigh Seigler (Kennedy Middle);
- Avery Sich (St. Mary's Help of Christians School);
- Adriel Sosa (North Augusta Middle);
- Tristan Troutman (Virtual School);
- Joselyn Watson (Kennedy Middle);
- Alyssa Williams (LBC Middle);
- Alahni Wolford (LBC Middle);
- Kathryn Worrell (Leavelle Mccampbell Middle);
- Jace Wrightson (North Augusta Middle);
- Yvanna Ynga (Kennedy Middle).
Standardized assessment data show the selected students who participated are the in the top percentiles nationally. The average score on the PSAT 8/9 was a 1064 (average 92nd percentile), with an average of 536 on Evidenced-Based Reading Writing (average 88th percentile) and 528 (average 92nd percentile) on Math.
The average score on the PSAT NMSQT was 1045 (average 71st percentile), with an average of 536 (average 71st percentile) on the Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing and a 500 (average 66th percentile) on Math.
It is important to note that the PSAT/NMSQT is an assessment for students in the 10th and 11th grade to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship program; it assesses both language and mathematical skills that 8th grade students have yet to be exposed to in the classroom. Equally, 43 students qualify for Gifted and Talented Academic designation and four for both Academic and Artistic (Note students coming from out of district have not gone through GT identification yet).
The deadline to commit was April 22. To date, 50 students have submitted a reply of commitment.
Additionally, 13 students have been placed on a wait list. They will be contacted regarding their continued interest and be given a deadline to assume a spot if a seat were to become available.
A meet-the-cohort event is tentatively planned for the evening of May 21. New scholars will have the opportunity to meet one another and begin the ever-important task of building relationships with their new classmates. Current scholars, parents, faculty and administration will be on hand to answer questions and share their experiences. It will be the first time the entire ASA cohort will be together and a great evening will be planned for all who participate.
Dr. Sandra Jordan, USC Aiken's Chancellor, is excited to welcome the school's second cohort of students.
"Congratulations to the newest Phoenix. We are thrilled to have ASA scholars on campus and look forward to getting to know members of the second cohort in the fall," commented Dr. Jordan.
"This innovative partnership with the Aiken County Public School District provides these students a unique high school experience that allows them to become fully immersed in college courses as juniors. By the time they graduate from the Aiken Scholars Academy, they will have earned significant college credits, setting them up for continued academic success."
Aiken Scholars Academy will hold an information session for current 6th- and 7th-grade students Thursday, May 16, at USC Aiken at 6 p.m. in the Student Activities Center (SAC). This event is for anyone interested in discovering more about the program, finding out what to do to prepare for acceptance while still in middle school, and see the timeline for the application process for the 2020-2021 school year.
For information on the Aiken Scholars Academy, visit us online at www.aikenscholars.com.