UofSC brings mentorship program to Marlboro County High School

Updated: Apr. 26, 2021 at 7:25 PM EDT
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BENNETTSVILLE, S.C. (WMBF) - University of South Carolina President Dr. Bob Caslan and a team of students traveled to Bennettsville on Monday to kick off the Gamecock Connections program at Marlboro County High School.

Gamecock Connections is a statewide mentorship program that uses university students to teach high school students about ways to pay for college, STEM programs and leadership.

Caslan implemented the program to show high school students that college is an option for everyone.

“There’s 30% of high school graduates in the state of South Carolina who do not go to college, 30%, that’s who we want to talk to, that’s who we want to inspire. We don’t only want to inspire them to go but show that it’s affordable and show them financial pathways to get there,” Caslan said.

District Superintendent Dr. Gregory McCord describes the Gamecock Connections program using three letters. A, E, and O.

These letters stand for access to college, exposure to the material, which he believes will open doors to new opportunities.

“Access plus exposure may lead you to new opportunities like the University of South Carolina or any other two or four-year university you want to be a part of,” McCord said.

Marlboro County senior Jaheem McLaurin grew up believing college wasn’t an option. When he received a full scholarship to the University of South Carolina he realized anything is possible.

“Even if you come from a rural small county you can go to college and be successful,” McLaurin said.

McLaurin hopes this program will make believers of many younger students.

“I think many students when they hear the words college and post-secondary they’re like, ‘That’s too much stress and I’m not doing it.’ Giving them this opportunity to come and show what college is about will open their eyes and show them that if they put their mind to it they can do it.” McLaurin said.

The mentors will continue to check in with Marlboro County students and answer questions on a monthly basis.

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