They will share classes, pick up trash and feed the hungry, and after one year earn a distinction they can carry for life
Such is the immediate future for the 15 inaugural Presidential Scholars at York Technical College.
York Tech officials introduced their new scholars Thursday, wryly observing they don’t hold a media conference for every new student.
York and Clover students are among the first class.
York Tech President Greg Rutherford challenged the scholars to dedicate themselves to the new program and to “represent us well.”
“The best of the best often start at community colleges,” Rutherford said, who started his own higher education at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College in North Carolina where he earned an associate degree.
The Presidential Scholars program is an effort to enhance the image of the college and to attract top students, York Tech officials said.
“Community colleges are often seen as the second choice for students. We can be the first choice,” said Martin Grant, scholar program coordinator and English professor.
The one-year program has two components, academic and community service. The scholars will share the same curriculum and community work.
Class work will be “blended,” Grant said. Work in history class will relate to what they are doing in computer science or English. In all, the students will share five classes the fall semester: English, biology, speech, computer science and history.
Planned community service projects include participating in the Catawba River Sweep and working at soup kitchens and nursing homes.
At the end of the year the students will give presentations on their experiences.
Criteria for selection to the program includes a minimum 3.0 grade point average in high school, passing entrance tests, an interview and writing an essay.
About 25 students applied for the first class of scholars, Grant said. Several more students could be selected before the school year starts.
Each student gets a scholarship from the state which pays for classes and a York Tech grant for an iPad and textbooks. The fee for the enrichment programs is $550, but other grants could pay that fee, Grant said.
Students in the inaugural class of scholars said they were attracted to the program because of its set schedule, the benefits of studying with the same group of people and the fact the program can be tailored to their individual interests.
“We can solve problems together, the curriculum is focused on our needs and we’re excited to see what’s ahead,” said scholar Ryan Hammond of Fort Mill.
Other members of the first class of Presidential Scholars are: Joshua Benfield, Clover; Martha Change, Clover; Dain Christensen, York; Christina Guerriero, Lake Wylie; Marius Hegemann, York; Mitchell Killen, Fort Mill; Kyle McCarter, Clover; Edward Moore, York; Matthew Myers, York; Bryant Polk, Rock Hill; Benjamin Pruette, Chester; Jennifer Reisterer, Fort Mill; Candace Snellenberger, Clover; and Brandon Wolfe, Tega Cay.