Orangeburg, SC (WLTX) -- It is the first of its kind in Orangeburg County and in South Carolina.
The Orangeburg High School for Health Professionals, a new charter school with a medical focus, will open its doors to its first students in August, and it plans to change lives.
"Think Big, Think Boldy, Think beyond," that's the theme for the opening year of Orangburg's newest school.
Principal Angel Hightower has set the bar high for her new students.
"We want our children to come out with not only a diploma, but also some college credit, or either an associates in a particular area," she says they're partnering with Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.
It is the county's first charter school, and the first one with a medical focus in South Carolina.Hightowersay theyworked with a similar school in Texas to set up the school.
Hightower says the Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5 authorized the school. She says they've spent the last year preparing to open.
Tuesday, students got a chance to meet each other and members of the school'seight person faculty and staff.
They alsowhile voted on their mascot and school shield. Hightower told students they would find out the result later. She also said the school's first valedictorian would receive a special honor. The title of his or her graduation address would also go on the shield.
Parents, who are required to support the school, not just participate, came out in full force.
"I feel like it's important because they can comprehend more, and they can focus on what they want to do and they feel much more comfortable with that because of the small environment," said Jennifer Glover, whose daughter will attend the school in the fall. She said she prayed for a school like this in Orangeburg.
This year, the school will run out of the Technology Center building on Magnolia Street. Hightower says they are looking for a new space to move into for next year.
The group of 9th graders that will be the first in the school's historywill have lab coats and iPads with copies of their books to use. The students will be able to keep the technology when they graduate.
They will also receive internships, and take classes from professional like doctors, dentists and pharmacists, and student say they are excited.
"They're gonna give us the basis for what we gotta do, and when we get into college and everything. They're really gonna give us tools we need to help us get there," said 14-year-old Vieke Parkash Rai. He says he wants to become a doctor and earn his Ph.D.
"It's best for us, I mean we can take this step to another level, we can do everything with it," said Laquandria Calhoun, a 14-year-old. She says she's interested in physical therapy.
Orangeburg High School for Health Professionals will not have its own athletics program or after school organization when school starts, but students can participate in those activities at their local high school. Students will have an opportunity to create some clubs as the year goes on.
The district will also provided transportation to the students, getting them to school and back, or to some after school activities.
Hightower says the school has high expectations for the students. They're aiming for a 100 percent graduation rate.
"I know everyone says how can you have 100% graduation? It's about the type of education you provide for them and I believe that through Orangeburg District 5, through the charter school that we're going to give them that world class school system that they need so that when they leave us they're competitive with the world," said Hightower.
If you'd like more information on the school you can visit theOrangeburg Consolidated School District 5 website here, or call 803-533-6374.