GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Class of 2023 – the largest senior class ever at Cyber Academy of South Carolina (CASC) – will don their caps and gowns this Saturday, June 3, and receive their high school diplomas, officially crossing an age-old milestone. Most of these 320 cyber-students will celebrate during an in-person ceremony in Columbia, S.C.’s, Koger Center for the Arts on the University of South Carolina campus. Others will follow up with a virtual celebration – true to their education format – on June 6.
One of those virtual seniors is Emily Willis from Enoree S.C., who transferred to CASC her sophomore year when the family found the virtual school offered a more accommodating approach than her traditional school. She credits CASC for her focus and excitement about college and a career.
"Thanks to CASC’s college career prep program, I was inspired to try STEM classes, and now I want to work in coding and cybersecurity. I'm excited to start college at USC Upstate this fall knowing exactly what career path I'm on," she says.
CASC graduation at-a-glance
Time and place. June 3, 1 p.m., at the Koger Center for the Arts on the University of South Carolina campus in Columbia, S.C. More than 200 students will be present in caps and gowns. There will be a virtual ceremony on June 6 for those not able to participate in the in-person event.
Early graduation. Fifty-seven of the 320 students are graduating at least a year early, and many are dual-enrollment students at their local community colleges. Last year, 53 students graduated early.
Next steps. CASC students go on to do many different things after high school, be it college, a trade school or career, or enlisting in the military. Almost two-thirds of the class will go on to college. Choices include most of the state’s technical colleges, SC State, USC Columbia, Oberlin College, Duke University, Georgetown, The Citadel, Clemson, Arizona State and more.
Classes and pathways. Many CASC students complete a course of study in one of seven “career cluster” pathways: health sciences, human services, finance, information technology, education and training, business management, marketing, and career and technical learning and work-based learning. Each career cluster identifies different pathways from high school to college to graduate school to career.
“We are so proud of our graduates and very excited to see our school grow year over year,” says Nicki Batson, CASC executive director. “Our students are virtual learners, but they are very involved in traditional school activities and milestones. They participate in state and national competitions, committees, clubs, and community service and learn valuable in-person skills with special events and opportunities. For example, our 2023 graduates attended an in-person prom in April.”
This was certainly true for Emily, who in addition to dual-enrollment classes, community service, Beta Club, National Honor Society and student council, was recently celebrated for her commitment to pursuing a STEM career path by the likes of Boeing and BMW during a STEM Signing DAY.
“I have a 4-year mentorship with Boeing as I pursue my degree at USC Upstate,” she explains. “They will continue to check in and support me in my studies, with the possibility of an internship. This happened because I was given an advantage at CASC. My milestones were higher and they encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and dream big.”
Her mother Karen Willis agrees. “When we made the decision to pull her out of a traditional public school and put her in CASC, we weren’t sure what to expect. But after a brief transition, it was clear we found the right program for Emily. She was pushed and encouraged, and pretty soon she opened up and was trying all sorts of new things. It was very exciting to watch,” she says.
About Cyber Academy of South Carolina
Cyber Academy of South Carolina (CASC) is an online public-school program of The Charter Institute at Erskine, serving students across the state of South Carolina. CASC is tuition-free, giving parents and families the choice to access the engaging curriculum and tools provided by Stride, Inc. (NYSE: LRN), the nation’s leading provider of proprietary K-12 curriculum and online education programs. For more information about CASC, visit casc.k12.com.
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