DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - The 2017 U.S. News Best High Schools rankings for top schools in South Carolina have been released, and No. 13 on that list is the Mayo High School for Math, Science, and Technology in Darlington.
Schools are ranked based on four criteria: students' performance on state required tests, proficiency rates of students' in both math and reading, college readiness based on the number of AP classes, and graduation rates compared to state average, the website stated.
Mayo High School for Math, Science, and Technology has approximately 350 students and a graduation rate of 100 percent.
Students scored 100 percent in math proficiency, 88 percent in English proficiency, and 58 percent AP passed testing.
Mayo High School is the magnet school for Darlington County and each student must apply on a lottery system and be a resident of Darlington County.
Principal Arlene Wallace said students must be prepared for the high rigor.
"Some students it's going to take a little bit more for them to get used to, 'Oh, I have to do homework every day, I have to study every night. So it just depends if they have that drive then this school can be for them," said Wallace. "We always tell them to make sure they know, you're going to have to put the work in."
Mayo High School has four AP classes and senior Emily Cooper said the school has paved the way for her full-ride academic scholarship to Vanderbilt University.
"Ever since I was in elementary I was in third grade and I wanted a full ride, because I was a twin," stated Cooper. "I knew both of us going at the same time was going to be expensive for my parents and it would be big for my family, so I knew I wanted to get a full ride."
Wallace said when the school opened the acceptance package, the best part was when the cost to parents said zero.
"Yes, and our class last year was offered $8.1 million in scholarships and this year's class said they are going to beat that class," Wallace added.
Cooper credits the high expectations the teachers set for students to her success at Mayo High.
"They don't want anything less, and the students around here are very smart too, so competition drives you to do better and our principal doesn't expect anything less. She wants the great and says hard work pays off," Cooper said.
Wallace added she likes to call Mayo High School S.T.E.A.M as well, because of the fantastic arts programs.
As for Cooper, she plans on majoring in biology and knows it's possible to lose her scholarship.
"I want to keep it, and then hopefully go to medical school at Vanderbilt and then become a doctor," stated Cooper.
Mayo High School is doing its best in terms of curriculum and preparing the students, Wallace explained.
The high school received a bronze award the last two years, but the goal will continue to be ranked silver.