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AT&T Awards $50,000 Contribution to TransformSC Early College Programs
2/24/2014 10:03:56 PM

Spartanburg, S.C. – AT&T announced a contribution of $50,000 to TransformSC this morning during the Transform Upstate Forum on the Spartanburg Community College Downtown Campus. The funds will benefit the South Carolina Charter District’s Midlands Middle College and Spartanburg School District Seven’s Viking Early College.

“At AT&T, we believe education is essential for a person’s success in today’s digital society and global economy,” said Pamela Lackey, President of AT&T South Carolina.

“There are school districts across the state, supported by their communities, which recognize the need to transform public education by preparing students for the career opportunities that await them. Most of these opportunities will require post-secondary learning and training. These Early College programs are adapting to the new realities facing parents, educators, students and business. They are building new education models. We applaud them for their innovation."

Midlands Middle College (MMC) is a program for at-risk 11-12th graders in the Midlands established in 2006. These students at MMC are on the Midlands Technical College campus full-time. Many MMC students are first generation college students and are placed in the program due to a variety of factors including: repetition of a grade in elementary or middle school, below grade level reading and/or math test scores, or significant attendance problems.

Principal Carole Fearrington said, “Midlands Middle College is honored to be one of the TransformSC schools. The leadership and support of AT&T will allow MMC to enhance innovative opportunities for students to achieve college and career readiness goals.”

The Viking Early College (VEC) is a single-gender program for 9-12th grade males which opened its doors in the Fall of 2013. Students in the VEC spend part of their day in a high school setting and part of their day on a community college campus. The VEC students are first generation college-going students who possess a strong desire to succeed, have a strong work ethic, and are willing to take on the demands and responsibility required to begin college-level courses. Through the VEC program they are given the support and guidance to create their future self and are exposed to community leaders who serve as mentors and resources to assist each student with reaching his college and career goals. By completing the VEC program, these young men are given the extra “push” they need to complete a college degree.

Superintendent Dr. Russell W. Booker said “On behalf of Spartanburg District Seven, I want to express tremendous gratitude to our partners at AT&T. This generous donation represents AT&T’s commitment to assisting students in meeting their goals, as well as their commitment to the goals of TransformSC.”

Students in both programs graduate high school with an Associate’s degree, or up to two years of credit toward a Bachelor’s degree – tuition free.

Data from both programs are promising. The schools have already succeeded in increasing graduation rates, college credit accumulation and attendance rates, while simultaneously decreasing behavioral and disciplinary problems.

The AT&T contribution will build on that success by funding 40 adult advocates to meet once per month during the academic year in a small learning community to discuss academics and career plans with students. It will also be used for summer programs, after school and Saturday sessions, field studies to accommodate student interests, visits to technical college career development areas, and parent university nights.

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