The Aiken Scholars Academy Selection Committee has offered and placed its second freshman cohort of 50 students, whose arrival in August will mark the start of the second year at Aiken County’s most exclusive high school.

The Aiken Scholars Academy is a groundbreaking collaboration between Aiken County Public Schools and USC Aiken to create an academic school of excellence unlike any other in the Southeast, according to a news release from the school district.

The academy, located on campus at USCA, offers advanced students an engaging educational experience that introduces and then immerses them into the collegiate environment beginning in their first year of high school as freshmen, according to the release.

Martha Messick

Martha Messick

“Taking on such an accelerated and rigorous curriculum means these students are looking for the best available academic challenges, and I look forward to meeting and speaking with each of them,” Aiken Scholars Academy Principal Martha Messick said. “As we get to know our newest students and their families more in the weeks and months ahead, I know they will be excited to learn about all we have been able to accomplish during our first academic year.”

The Aiken Scholars Academy’s second cohort of students is a diverse group of 50 outstanding students. Of the 50 accepted applicants, 32 are female and 18 are male.

The accepted applicants represent ethnicities as follows: Asian, Black/African American, Caucasian, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, and two or more races. The students represent almost every middle school in the county, along with international, parochial, private and virtual school students.

The students selected to attend the academy are as follows: Johnathan Anderson, Paul Knox Middle; Shea Bolt, LBC Middle; Austin Brenneman, North Augusta Middle; Lianna Brost, Horse Creek Academy; Kennedy Brown, Kennedy Middle; Jaylen Bunch, North Augusta Middle; Alexander Burdett, Ridge Spring-Monetta Middle; Monae Burns, North Augusta Middle; Irulan Coleman, Aiken Middle; Michelle Dent, Jackson STEM Middle; Luka Djolic, International School, Serbia; Logan Edwards, North Augusta Middle; Conner Entzminger, Mead Hall Episcopal School; Kylee Fonseca, Leavelle McCampbell Middle; Amanda Glenn, North Augusta Middle; Lexi Goodwin, Kennedy Middle; Emily Heath, Aiken Middle; Savill Jensen, North Augusta Middle; Bailey Kirkland, Kennedy Middle; Reece Kirkland, Kennedy Middle; Carsen Lacombe, North Augusta Middle; Zephanae Liis, Kennedy Middle; Kara Loyd, Kennedy Middle; Brandon Luther, Kennedy Middle; Lainy Maciejewski, Horse Creek Academy; Mariko Maja, Kennedy Middle; Avah Martinez, Horse Creek Academy; Mika Mayo, Jackson STEM Middle; Maddison McCall, New Ellenton STEAM Middle; Elizabeth McClain, Jackson STEM Middle; Andrew McCord, LBC Middle; Gavin McGillivary, North Augusta Middle; Kaia McMullen, St. Mary Help of Christians School; Emmanuel Nwachukwu, Schofield Middle; Bryan Outlaw, North Augusta Middle; Savannah Parler, Jackson STEM Middle; Isabella Peralta, St. Mary Help of Christians School; Andrew Putman, Paul Knox Middle; Sean Rose, Paul Knox Middle; Shelton Schutte, Kennedy Middle; Kaeleigh Seigler, Kennedy Middle; Avery Sich, St. Mary Help of Christians School; Adriel Sosa, North Augusta Middle; Tristan Troutman, Virtual School; Joselyn Watson, Kennedy Middle; Alyssa Williams, LBC Middle; Alahni Wolford, LBC Middle; Kathryn Worrell, Leavelle McCampbell Middle; Jace Wrightson, North Augusta Middle; and Yvanna Ynga, Kennedy Middle.

Sandra Jordan mug

Dr. Sandra Jordan

USCA Chancellor Dr. Sandra Jordan said she is excited to welcome the school’s second cohort of students.

“This innovative partnership with the Aiken County Public School District provides these students a unique high school experience that allows them to become fully immersed in college courses as juniors,” she said. “By the time they graduate from the Aiken Scholars Academy, they will have earned significant college credits, setting them up for continued academic success.”

Aiken Scholars Academy will hold an information session for current sixth- and seventh-grade students at 6 p.m. May 16 in USCA's Student Activities Center. This event is for anyone interested in learning more about the program, finding out what to do to prepare for acceptance while still in middle school and seeing the timeline for the application process for the 2020-2021 school year.

A meet-the-cohort event is tentatively planned for May 21. New scholars will have the opportunity to meet one another and begin building relationships with their new classmates.

Current scholars, parents, faculty and administration will be on hand to answer questions and share their experiences. It will be the first time the entire ASA cohort will be together.

For information on the Aiken Scholars Academy, visit

Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.