KNOW(2) project director Oscar Fuller was inducted May 30 into the Spartanburg Community College Wall of Fame for his leadership role in expanding education opportunities for county residents.
Fuller successfully campaigned for county council to create a K-14 scholarship in 2012 for industrial trade and radiation protection programs offered on the college’s Cherokee County branch campus. He helped establish the state’s first dual enrollment program at adult education, allowing 111 GED candidates to earn college credits through Spartanburg Community College (SCC).
“We have only had 17 students who actually needed the scholarship since most of our students qualify for Pell Grants,” said Daryl Smith, executive director of the SCC Cherokee County campus. “However, we estimate over 150 more students have come to SCC since the financial barrier to education has been removed. These facts and many others are why I nominated Oscar Fuller to be on the Spartanburg Community College’s Wall of Fame.”
Under Fuller’s leadership, more than 300 volunteers are now involved in efforts by KNOW(2) to change the education mindset of 55,000 Cherokee County residents. The KNOW(2) education initiative was organized after studies showed the Cherokee County workforce lacks the education and technical skills desired by businesses and industries. This conclusion was based on a 2010 community indicators project along with research that shows education outcomes for county residents lag behind state residents.
Local data in 2011 showed 74 percent of Cherokee County residents graduated high school. Only 12.1 percent of county residents have at least a 4-year college degree, compared to 24 percent in South Carolina.
“The David they chose to slay Goliath was Mr. Oscar Fuller, son of a tobacco farmer, who paid for his engineering degree raising tobacco on a couple of acres,” Smith said. “When Mr. Fuller joins his wife in their mansion in the sky, I am sure there will be another plaque there that will say: ‘Well done my good and faithful servant’ signed in what will appear to be red ink by the only person that Mr. Fuller ever really tried to impress.”
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