Some students are doing their math homework under a gazebo. A few elect to work in the principal’s office. Others work on their own. These students are allowed to work in the way they feel is most successful for them because that’s what Midlands Middle College (MMC) stands for.
MMC educates junior and senior students from all over the state of SC on the Airport campus of Midlands Technical College. This SC Public Charter School allows students to work in small classes in order to graduate high school, prepare for college and explore other possibilities after school.
“Students generally come here because they aren’t thriving in the traditional high school setting,” Carole Fearrington, Principal of MMC, said. “Students enjoy our 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours, being on a college campus and graduating with college credit.”
MMC not only focuses on students graduating, but they also focus on professional experience.
“Thanks to partners like the Foundation, we were able to take our students on field trips for career preparation,” Fearrington said. “It’s incredibly important for our students to have outside resources; the world is not school, and it takes all kinds of skills to survive in the world. Our partners make this lesson possible.”
MMC has collaborated with the Richland Library and Midlands Education Business Alliance to introduce students to the employment process. With these two organizations, students partook in career assessments tests, resume workshops and discussions about the interviewing process.
“We got to work hands-on with our resumes and interview practice,” Devonte Carswell, 17, senior at MMC, said. “They even switched roles with us during the interview process. I was focused on not messing up, but it was a good learning experience.”
These experiences outside of the classroom are meant to inspire students to think about what life is like after graduation.
“Something that really stuck with me is how important first impressions are,” Carswell said. “These workshops help me so I can move on to something other than being a Rush’s cashier.”
Right now, MMC has 90 students enrolled to their campus. Teachers work to individualize for each of their students the best they can.
“The most valuable part of my job is knowing that I’ve helped students who had trouble succeeding academically before accomplish their educational goals,” Ashley Cooper, 32, math teacher at MMC, said. “We do not give up on them.”
Overall, it’s the hard work of the educators and partners of MMC that make this organization so successful.
“Our space at Midlands Tech comes with no cost to us, we have speakers come out frequently, and we can take our students outside of the classroom,” Fearrington said. “Because of all this, students can see that there is life beyond high school. They see that getting their diploma is awesome, but there’s a lot more after that.”