The graduations have begun for Aiken County Public School District.
The Aiken Career and Technology Center and Aiken Scholars Academy held ceremonies Wednesday night at the USC Aiken Convocation Center.
The Aiken Scholars Academy seniors made history as the school’s first graduating class. ASA is an academically-accelerated ACPSD high school that is open to all Aiken County residents and is located on the USCA campus, according to a press release from the school district.
Kayla Goldschmidt is the ASA valedictorian and Grace Burns is the salutatorian. Both gave speeches to their fellow classmates Wednesday night.
“It’s so hard to summarize my experience in a short answer, but it’s been the very best experience I could have asked for,” said Goldschmidt in a press release from the school district. “It has been the most amazing place to go to high school. All of the teachers are the best, and the students here are wonderful. I really feel like I’ve built a family here, and I’m looking forward to coming back and visiting because I love this place.”
Burns said the experience at ASA was unlike any other.
“It’s definitely not a traditional high school experience,” Burns said in the school district news release. “I had my friends here at Aiken Scholars Academy, and I had friends at other schools, as well like South Aiken where I played volleyball and at Aiken High where I played lacrosse since no other schools had a lacrosse team. Having a senior banner at South Aiken and one at Aiken was kind of funny. It was awesome.”
Seniors from Aiken County Career and Technology Center, Aiken High School, Aiken Scholars Academy, Midland Valley High School, North Augusta High School, Ridge Spring-Monetta High School, Silver Bluff High School, South Aiken High School and Wagener-Salley High School, received completer certificates in 14 different pathways on Wednesday.
During the ceremony Tim Behling, the CEO of SuccessTeam, spoke to the students, telling them about his history with the career center.
“The truth is I would not be who I am today if I had not come to the Aiken County career center,” he said. “Currently as a community leader I can look back and be thankful for certain points in my life that would allow me to become who I am. The career center is a story I tell because it genuinely changed my life and gave me the tools to accomplish my dreams and goals”
Kenneth Lott, the principal at the career center, spoke about how participating in the career center is helping the students advance in their careers from an early age.
“Introduction to career and tech program gives students a better chance to succeed with skill, craft, career and any path a student may chose. The young people seated before you tonight are well on their way to a successful future. They made a decision to invest in themselves along with the support of their loved ones and the direction of their instructors, they have gained knowledge and skills that will help lead them.”
ACPSD Superintendent King Laurence told the students because of their choices, hard work, determination and teachers, they have learned “the skills to pay the bills” and are prepared for the work force.