CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A big day for the first class of graduates at Early College High School as they received their diplomas. Many of the students in the unique program graduated not only with a high school diploma but with associates degrees as well.

The pandemic took a toll on all students but particularly seniors here at Early College High School because they were the first-ever graduating class.

A celebration well deserved as the first class of graduates marks the end of their journey. For some, getting here hasn’t been easy.

“I had definitely had a lot of challenges come up against me. Things weren’t always easy but I did push through and early college was always there for me when I needed them to be,” said James Carter, senior.

The unique program which allowed students to simultaneously earn high school and college degrees has set them up for success.

The facility told me that 29 students received their associate’s degree in college and over 3,000 college credit hours in total. Pushing themselves to reach their fullest potential over the past four years

A happy ending and a new beginning for the group of students that set the standard for the program.

“The biggest struggle I’m having right now is just saying goodbye to this group because I don’t know what Early College High School would be without them because they have been here since the beginning. They are leaving behind a legacy,” said Vanessa Denney, Principal.

The excitement continues for this senior class as they make plans to head off to college in the fall some already ahead on their 4-year degree.