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HGTC Partnership with HCS Benefits Students at ECHS

HGTC Partnership with HCS Benefits Students at ECHS

(Conway, SC) 11/16/2021

The Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) is a proud partner with Horry County Schools (HCS) through one of the best Early College High School (ECHS) programs in the nation. Now is the time for eighth grade students in Horry County middle schools to learn more about the opportunities available and decide for the 2022-2023 school year.

HCS ECHS has served as a model for other Early College programs and enhanced the HGTC effort to expand dual credit opportunities for high school students across Horry and Georgetown Counties. The HCS ECHS program provides students with the chance to complete the requirements for a SC High School Diploma and complete up to the required credits needed to earn an associate degree. Transportation is provided to and from base high schools with pickup times and locations varying with each high school.

“HCS Early College High School has a long tradition of excellence and a faculty and staff committed to providing quality instruction to ensure students learn and grow, develop relationships, and gain skills needed to be productive citizens. My vision is to provide students with learning experiences that will foster a desire to be lifelong learners capable of thinking critically, collaborating with others, setting, and achieving personal goals, and contributing to their communities. As a school, our goal is to provide a quality education in a nurturing environment so that each student can reach their full potential,” said Demetrius Williams, Early College High School Principal.

Eighth grade students in Horry County middle schools can learn more about the opportunities available at upcoming Open House events. HCS Early College High School Open House events are being held from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on the following dates at the Early College High School location on the HGTC Conway Campus, 2050 HWY. 501 East, Building 400, Conway, SC 29526:

  • Tuesday, November 16, 2021
  • Tuesday, December 7, 2021
  • Tuesday, January 25, 2021

HCS ECHS, home of the Trailblazers, opened in 2006 on the HGTC Conway Campus with its first class of 9th grade students representing the nine (9) high schools within Horry County Schools. It was deliberately designed as a small learning community of 400 students where each student is provided with intensive, personalized support needed to meet high standards and successfully pursue both a high school diploma and an associate degree while in high school. It remains a model for innovation across the country with more than 50% of the HCS ECHS seniors earning both their high school diploma and associate degree from HGTC on average annually.

The mission of HCS ECHS is to provide a small, personalized learning community that accelerates our diverse student population to become responsible citizens who are strong critical thinkers, collaborators, and communicators who can successfully meet and face the challenges of competing in an ever-changing global society.

“Despite the challenges, students will continue to have rigorous, relevant, academic experiences designed to help them build relationships while making real-world connections. I believe a partnership between the home, school, and community is essential to provide an excellent educational experience for our students. Parents are a vital part of our school, and we encourage family members to become involved and attend our celebratory events throughout the school year. Our door is open, and we welcome every opportunity to work with you,” continued Williams.

In May 2021, 55 Horry County Schools students received an associate degree diploma during their senior year, just prior to their high school graduation in June.

“We were able to make the vision of an Early College High School a realization because of the passion and commitment of HGTC faculty and staff with ‘whatever it takes’ attitudes. Our team refused to accept barriers, believed deeply in the potential of all students, and dedicated their careers to proving that the dream of a college education and productive citizenship could become a reality for every student,” said Dr. Marilyn Murphy Fore, HGTC President.

Nationally, an average of about 30 percent of students graduate from early college programs with an associate degree. Approximately 55% of HCS Early College High School students in each graduating class complete an associate degree by the time they graduate from high school. This year, approximately 57% percent of the Class of 2021 were estimated to earn an associate degree no later than August 2021. Students also have the option to choose a career path their senior year that will help them enter the workforce immediately after graduation with a stable career. Those certificate programs include areas such as Welding, Diesel Mechanic, HVAC, Cosmetology, and Patient care. Other students have the option to choose a different associate degree program during their senior year that includes programs such as Culinary Arts, Computer programming, Business Administration, Digital Arts, etc. Those students plan to return to HGTC after high school graduation for one additional year to complete those associate degrees.

For more information about HCS Early College High School, visit www.horrycountyschools.net or contact a school counselor. For more information about the HGTC PACE Dual Enrollment Program, please contact Hope Wofford, Dual Enrollment Director, at 843-477-2097 or hope.wofford@hgtc.edu.