Meet Mayme Medlock. Mayme was the Class of 2017 valedictorian at Cyber Academy of South Carolina (CASC). She is also the first-ever virtual school student to be named a Clemson Scholar.
Mayme enrolled at CASC for her junior year of high school when her grandmother became ill and her father’s job transferred him out of state, requiring him to move an hour away. CASC allowed her to help care for her grandmother while occasionally having dinner with her dad without having to rush home for school the next day.
“CASC was just what our family needed during a season of change,” said Mayme’s mother, Dee Medlock. “Mayme was able to help with her grandmother and have time with her before her Alzheimer’s progressed. She was very helpful when her grandmother was in the hospital, and yet she was able to get her classwork done without falling behind – she simply brought it with her.”
While first looking for a new school, it was important that Mayme continue to be challenged academically to allow her the best opportunities for her future education. Dee liked the rigor with which CASC covered the course material and the ability to earn early college credit through dual enrollment with Spartanburg Community College and USC Upstate – combining “the comfort of high school with the rigor of college,” she said.
“The guidance counselor, Courtney Kountz, was amazing in helping Mayme plan her studies and meet her academic goals,” Dee said. “She arranged for Mayme to be able to get into early college classes and plugged her into great CASC classes with teachers that were motivating and very accessible.”
All of Mayme’s hard work paid off, as her original list of 40 prospective colleges included Ivy League schools like Yale and Harvard, as well as others with stellar academic reputations, such as Duke, Vanderbilt, Oxford and New York University.
“My mom and I looked at colleges that would offer the educational resources I wanted, the opportunity to study abroad, internships, placement rates in medical, law and business post-graduate programs and ultimately job placement,” Mayme said.
Clemson was not on her original list, but while visiting family in the area, she was encouraged to go for a visit. “I met with the deputy director of the Calhoun Honors College and everything clicked,” she said. “It was in state, close to home, a medium-sized school and a research university. While I had been so focused on the ‘big-name’ schools, I was not finding my niche. At Clemson, I found my home – it is ranked No. 23 out of universities nationally and offers everything I was looking for and more in a college. Calhoun Honors College is actually ranked in the Top 10 honors colleges in the nation, so I feel really honored to have been accepted.”
Thanks to Mayme’s pristine academic record, she was awarded a number of scholarships, including the Clemson Scholars award, which is given to the top student at each South Carolina public high school, and the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, a merit-based program designed to encourage the most academically talented high school seniors in South Carolina to attend college in state.
“Being the first virtual student to be named a Clemson Scholar is like being a pioneer,” Mayme said. “With over five million students in the U.S. choosing virtual education and millions others taking virtual classes, I expect that I am just the first of many to follow.”
Mayme, who will enter college this fall one class shy of sophomore standing thanks to dual enrollment, will major in philosophy and has been accepted to the pre-professional studies program. She plans to study medicine or law with an emphasis in global policy in the future.
“I can see myself as a human rights attorney or practicing medicine in a global sense,” she said.
Whichever path she chooses, she knows that CASC has prepared her well for her future. “CASC taught me the self-discipline I will need for college success,” she said. “I am pretty self-motivated, but the system kept me on track and helped me stay organized.”
Her mother agrees. “CASC really focuses on growing the students’ ability to manage and use their time wisely,” Dee said. “In addition, following the CASC plan creates a strong work ethic, and teachers encouraged mentoring, tutoring and community service, which grows character. Her experience at CASC will help her be successful throughout her life.”