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First Scholarship Awarded In Special Ed Program
1/24/2014 12:51:39 PM

5th grader Evan Cobb with his $5,000 scholarship check

Columbia, SC - Earlier this week, John McCormick, principal of Hidden Treasure Christian School in Greenville, and fifth grader Evan Cobb, were handed a check for $5,000. The money will allow Evan, an 11 year old struggling with learning disabilities and marked AD/HD, to attend a special independent school serving students diagnosed with intellectual, physical, emotional, developmental, and learning disabilities.

Hidden Treasure Christian School opened its doors in 1981 to educate young men and women who, for various reasons, have difficulty achieving their potential in a traditional classroom setting. Hidden Treasure receives financial and in-kind support from churches, individual and corporate donors from across the country. Small class sizes and research based personalized education plans for every student are the foundation of its approach.

Despite help from the school supporters, the cost of maintaining an exceptionally qualified staff and student to teacher ratios as low as 3-to-1 means even those families with discounted tuition have to make genuine financial sacrifices for their children to attend. In Evan’s case, even a partial school scholarship and additional tuition supplements still presented a financial challenge to keep him enrolled in the school. Thanks to the $5,000 check from Advance Carolina, his parents can send him to Hidden Treasure, the school they are certain is the right place for him.

“Thanks to Advance Carolina, this will be Evan’s second year at Hidden Treasure,” explained Dorothy Cobb, Evan’s mother. “His skills in math have jumped dramatically so that he is now working on grade level; his ability to function as part of the group in his classroom has skyrocketed,” Dorothy continued, “now he is working on accumulating enough homework points to earn an invitation to the class end-of-year trip to Charleston!”

“Advance Carolina,” is a special type of nonprofit. It serves as a scholarship provider (or “SFO”) in South Carolina’s new tax credit funded grant program for exceptional needs students. The group issues grants for students like Evan enrolling at private K-12 schools that offer special services. Private taxpayers who fund these grants and are eligible for a state-income tax credit.

“Evan struggles with a specific learning disability, issues related to processing speed, and marked AD/HD,” says Mrs. Cobb. “This school is making a significant and lasting impact in Evan’s life and in the lives of about 40 other students with special needs. This would not be happening without the generosity of donors to the school and to Advance Carolina. Our family wouldn’t be able to send Evan to Hidden Treasure without this help.”

Advance Carolina was created by the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools (SCACS). The SFO was established to provide scholarships to students at SCACS-affiliated school, as well as students enrolling at other independent, non-sectarian private schools. Directors and staffers have decades of personal experience as Christian educators and the SFO targets its support to students demonstrating the greatest ability, financial, and familial need.

Advance Carolina is one of four SFOs operating in South Carolina and one of three that has signed the “Access Opportunity Best Practices Pledge.” That voluntary commitment includes a public promise to fundraise, award and administer scholarships in the most efficient, effective, and ethical manner possible. It also holds SFO employees, contractors and volunteers to high professional standards. Details of the SFOs and schools participating in the special education scholarship program can be found online at IndependentED.org

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