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Kershaw County students graduate from South Carolina Connections Academy
SC Connections Academy
Seniors prepare to graduate from South Carolina Connections Academy during a ceremony in Columbia in June. Eleven students from Kershaw County were among those graduating from the statewide K-12 online public school. (Provided by Amy Chastain)

South Carolina Connections Academy, a tuition-free online public school serving students in grades K-12 across South Carolina, celebrated nearly 620 graduating seniors during the school’s annual high school graduation ceremony. Hundreds of family members, friends, teachers and administrators gathered in Columbia for the ceremony on Friday. Valedictorian Catherine Drosieko and Salutatorian Benjamin Owens served as student speakers.

The class of 2019 spans the state, with graduates residing in cities and towns including Florence, Anderson, Aiken and Fort Mill.

This year’s Kershaw County graduates are Jaza Bennett, TaDora Isaacs, Daniel “DJ” Dinkins, Emily Arledge, Kasper McLeod, Samuel Messinides, Breanna Thompson, Bailee Gurley, Sarah Wohlwinder, Olivia Vaughan, and Juliet Meza.

The 67 percent of graduates who plan to attend two- or four-year colleges or universities are headed to schools including Carnegie Mellon University, US Naval Academy, American Musical & Dramatic Academy, Full Sail University and Savannah College of Art & Design.

“This year’s graduates have impressed me with their depth of knowledge and passions,” said Amanda Ebel, executive director at South Carolina Connections Academy. “We’re extremely excited to see what the future holds for these talented and motivated seniors, and are grateful for the opportunity we’ve had to be a part of their education.”

South Carolina Connections Academy currently serves approximately 4,750 students in grades K-12 across South Carolina. The school’s students work with certified teachers who are specially trained to engage students in online learning using the school’s award-winning, proven curriculum.

South Carolina Connections Academy juniors and seniors benefit from the school’s flexibility, which allows them time to research colleges, take on a part-time job or pursue extracurricular activities. Students also take advantage of Kansas Connections Academy’s diverse course catalogue, including Career Technical Education (CTE) elective offerings.

For more information about South Carolina Connections Academy, please visit the school’s website at