Fox Creek High School offers its students a head start on college and their careers through its Silver Fox and Fox Creek Academic and Technical academies.
“For both academies, it’s really been an extra boost of encouragement for those students,” said guidance counselor Ian Bramhall.
The Silver Fox Academy, which is in its third year, allows students to earn up to 36 hours of college credit through Piedmont Technical College.
“It’s an honors academy,” he said. “It places them in honors classes throughout their career at Fox Creek. The ultimate goal for the Silver Fox Academy is to place students in college-level, dual credit courses where they are taking classes here.”
Students who took Algebra I and/or English I in eighth grade and those who make A’s and B’s in their classes are eligible to participate in the academy. Students must maintain an 85 average to remain in the academy.
There are about 160 students in ninth through 12th grade who are a part of the academy.
In their junior and senior years, the students take dual credit classes taught by Fox Creek teachers.
“The teachers that are a part of the academy are absolutely wonderful,” Bramhall said. “In order to be able to teach the college classes, they have to have a post-bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, in that particular field.”
Their junior year, students take English 101 and 102 and math 110 and 111. Their senior year, they can take history 101 and 102, biology 101 and 102, English 201 and 205, and math 120 and 140.
Senior Allison Lemmon enjoys the academy.
“It’s fun. It’s a good opportunity to start out with college while in high school,” she said, adding that she thinks it’ll help ease the transition to college. “You can get into the college work before you go off.”
Allison is planning to attend the University of South Carolina or College of Charleston. She’s considering a career in the medical field.
Likewise, students in the Fox Creek Academic and Technical Academy are also getting ahead.
The academy, which is in its first year, is offered in conjunction with Aiken Technical College.
Students focus on their core classes in their freshman and sophomore years. In their junior and senior years, the students spend half the day at Fox Creek taking core classes and the remainder of the day at Aiken Tech taking courses in one of three areas: welding, HVAC or medical science.
They also take general requirements for Aiken Tech.
“By the time they graduate from Fox Creek, they’ll also have a certificate in their program” and be employed in an entry-level position in those fields, Bramhall said.
After they graduate from high school, if they continue with Aiken Tech in the program they received a certificate in, they’ll complete requirements for a degree in one year.
It’s what attracted junior Bryce Rutland to the academy.
“I want to go into welding,” he said, adding that he expects that there will be a demand for such skills by the time he graduates.
He’s enjoyed the classes so far, he added.
“It’s been good, a lot of work, but interesting,” he said.
To participate in the academy, the students must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA, be tested in math and English skills, and have their application approved. Currently, there are five students participating, but they are expecting that number to grow, Bramhall said.