Aiken Promotes Love of Learning at Any Age

On Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 06:23
For Aiken residents, a thirst for knowledge isn’t hard to quench. The city’s devotion to educational excellence is widely recognized, and not just among the area’s students. For the 12th consecutive year, the Aiken Public County School District has been named an award-winning school system by School Match, an independent nationwide school selection service. But that’s just the beginning for Aiken students when it comes to quality education. Many of the area’s seven high schools, 10 middle schools and 20 elementary schools have undergone renovations or added square footage in recent years, creating learning institutions that are a pleasant environment for young minds to grow. Aiken is also a college town, which brings its own sense of merit. For the 10th year in a row, University of South Carolina Aiken has been named one of the top three public baccalaureate colleges in the South by U.S. News and World Report, ranking second in 2008. Its 453-acre campus features an open courtyard and the well-stocked Gregg-Graniteville Library, where the school’s 3,000-plus students can study in peace and quiet. USCA offers both undergrad and graduate classes, with more than 30 majors and academic programs as well as three master’s degree programs. Local businesses are able to cherry-pick graduates coming out of Aiken Technical College and Aiken County Career and Technology Center. In fact, ACCTC’s school-to-work program has generated millions of dollars in scholarships from area industries. Likewise, this well-prepared workforce is also enticing to businesses thinking about relocating to the area. But learning is not just for the young, and residents can continue the pursuit of knowledge they graduate high school or college. Older residents long out of school can enjoy the Academy for Lifelong Learning program at USCA. Students can participate in special-interest discussion groups, day-trip excursions and a multitude of session courses running the gamut from hobbies to university-level topics.