24th CHAMPS Summer Program In Progress

CHAMPS students are getting a taste of college life for three weeks this summer. While many high school juniors and seniors are taking trips to prospective colleges,128 seventh through 10th grade Laurens County students are taking classes on the PC campus as part of CHAMPS summer program. Classes began June 8th and continue this week, through Friday, June 28th.

A member of the Presbyterian College graduating class this May remembers her participation in CHAMPS program. Katelyn Norris was on a 7th grade student at Hickory Tavern Middle School when she attended CHAMPS. She remembered, “It was thrilling being on a college campus.” She added, “I loved being with a group of people who really focused on you and wanted you to succeed.” Katelyn received the Jerman Disasa Scholarship to attend PC. While she graduated in May, Norris remembers being on the PC campus for the first time. Ms. Norris said of CHAMPS, “It was hard classwork, but it was fun because we were doing science, we were doing public speaking, and we were doing fun things that we didn’t get to necessarily do during the year.”

This summer, CHAMPS students are taking STEM and storytelling classes taught by teachers from local school districts. CHAMPS mentors and volunteers are teaching students life skills in fun classes like Art, Devotions and Game-making.

CHAMPS students are also participating in praise and worship this summer. Seventh and eighth grade students were on campus one week, followed by ninth and 10th graders.

Now in its 24th year, CHAMPS stands for Communities Helping, Assisting, and Motivating Promising Students. According to Ms. Norris, the program’s acronym matches its mission. She said, “I like that CHAMPS is community-based. Many churches and businesses aren’t recognized for what they do, but they help a lot.”

Norris also says the program helps keep students motivated. “Some students may not get the motivation at home, and that’s the kids we’re really trying to reach.” Norris is among mentors helping 11th and 12th grade students navigate their college search by reminding them to ask questions about financial aid.

Since 2001, CHAMPS has been channeling more than 90% of its graduates to colleges and universities.