Early Bird Newsletter

  • "Early Bird" Early College News

    Welcome to our newsletter archive. Since our inaugural issue in spring 2016, The Early Bird has been published biannually during the fall and spring semesters. Browse through our archive and enjoy reading about the SCC Early College community: student accomplishments, faculty and student spotlights, and other program notes.

  • Student Highlights: Spring 2020

    Coping during COVID-19 Crisis

    We are delighted to feature two successful Gaffney High School seniors, Ansleigh Touchberry and Amy “Sierra” Richardson. 

    Q: What college classes have you taken with Spartanburg Community College this year and what does your college class schedule look like?

    Ansleigh: I took MAT 110 (College Algebra) last semester and am currently enrolled in MAT 120 (Probability and Statistics) with SCC. Being involved in the classes at Gaffney High School, they fit into my normal high school schedule during 3rd block.

    Sierra: At Gaffney High School, I took English 101 with Mrs. Camp and MAT 110 with Dr. Hartman in the fall. This semester, I took ENG 102 with Mrs. Camp and MAT 120 with Dr. Hartman. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I had math at 12:22 p.m. and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I had English at 8:10 a.m.

    Q: Concurrent enrollment classes are a subset of dual enrollment. These are college classes taught by approved high school faculty who meet the same credentialing standards as other instructors teaching the same classes on the college campus. Have the SCC concurrent enrollment classes you have taken been beneficial to you? How so?

    Ansleigh: My SCC classes have been extremely beneficial. I will earn six college credit hours and be able to bypass some required courses for my major. Having these classes at my high school is a huge benefit for any student because the college class location is at the high school.

    Sierra: I think they have been highly beneficial just because I have never sat in a class taught as a college course. These classes are not on a high school level. They open you to a new perspective. Whenever I chose the classes on my registration sheet, I wanted to build a foundation for my freshman year at my future college and test the waters. I feel like I am sitting in a college class. I am in a college class. Some classes may transfer and I won’t have to take them again.

    Q: In what ways has your instructor made this class a real college experience?

    Ansleigh: Dr. Hartman is an amazing teacher. The class was a real college experience because of the faster pace of the lectures. I have also taken AP (Advanced Placement) classes. Being involved in college concurrent enrollment classes is not much different. Dr. Hartman really tries to have a personal connection with all of his students. I can remember countless times he would give us real world advice pertaining to college and college choices.

    Sierra: Mrs. Camp tends to not focus on just one viewpoint. She wants you to explore other viewpoints. We have a lot of discussion in class. I like to interact with what I am learning and to think on a deeper level. She encourages you to take in what she is thinking and what my classmates are thinking as well. In math, Dr. Hartman does not hold your hand. You learn to be more independent. It helps prepare me for future college courses where I need to be able to teach myself things. He gives you something—an idea, a concept you are required to learn. You connect with the concept and apply it to the real world or a future problem. Both instructors treat us like students and adults. They expect you to be able to handle the course load. They want you to think deeper and analytically and not just scratch the surface of the content and move on.

    Q: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, face to face SCC classes ended mid-March. What has it been like making the adjustment to an online format for the last several weeks of the spring semester?

    Ansleigh: This pandemic is devastating. Dr. Hartman makes sure the class materials for MAT 120 are understandable. He posts well explained videos on D2L. He also posts PowerPoints. I can see him writing and working out problems in D2L, and I can hear his voice.

    Sierra: In MAT 120, we use D2L a lot. Dr. Hartman posts tutorials on his computer screen, does a voice over to interact with the class, teaches the class, and works out problems for us. Tests are online. All the documents and materials we need  are online. I was kind of hesitant about online. I really like to ask questions in class—Am I doing this right or wrong—but now, I actually like online learning. The instructors have been encouraging throughout the process and great under difficult circumstances. You email them, and they email you back. In ENG 102, we use a Zoom app to meet. We can see Mrs. Camp in her living room. She is so organized. She walks us through everything and gives us what we need to work on. She explains a concept while we are muted, then unmutes us so we can talk also. You know you are not alone.

    Q: Have you participated in extracurricular activities at school or other community activities while taking these classes this year? How do you balance your college classes with your high school classes and other responsibilities?

    Ansleigh: I participate in multiple activities at school and in the community. I serve as student body president at Gaffney High School. I am a varsity athlete on the volleyball and soccer teams. I am senior secretary in the Beta Club. I am in the Pep Club and on the Prom Committee. I am a Chamber of Commerce Junior Ambassador. As an ambassador, I engage in numerous community service activities and fundraisers which benefit organizations such as Relay for Life and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. I also participate in a Teacher Cadet class. The key to balancing college classes with other responsibilities is time management and knowing what I can personally handle. I keep a planner to keep track of my activities.

    Sierra: I was a member of the Gaffney High School swim team this year. I belong to the National English Honor Society and serve as secretary of the National Honor Society. I am one of the founding members of both societies. I participate in the Sub Deb Club with 23 other girls and serve as club president. This club gets us involved in civic activities such as fundraisers, and it builds our maturity level. Two words characterize how I balance college classes with other responsibilities: prioritize and organize. What to do this week? What’s important to do today? I watch deadlines; I am a huge organizer. This helps me avoid being stressed and overwhelmed. I am a list maker. I do homework and get caught up during lunch or a free period, especially during the sports season.

    Q: What advice would you give to other high school students who plan to take college classes next year?

    Ansleigh: I would definitely encourage them to take college classes this year. This is a great opportunity to get ahead in college.

    Sierra: Take the opportunity. Every student should experience a college class their senior year so they won’t dive headfirst into college next year and won’t be blindsided about how their instructors teach. You need to learn to take more responsibility for independent learning.

    Q: What's next for you after you graduate from Gaffney High School? What are your college and career plans?

    Ansleigh: I plan to attend Coastal Carolina University this fall. I have been accepted in their Honors College program. I plan to pursue a major in public health and healthcare promotion. I want to be involved in making policy changes dealing with healthcare. My desire is to be able to fight for the underdog and cause change.

    Sierra: I plan to attend Appalachian State University in the fall. I love the atmosphere; everyone is so welcoming. I am keeping my options open and am considering accounting, communications, and government/political science majors. I am thinking about becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or pursuing a career in public relations in the sports field.​