The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics was founded in 1980 as a premier public high school for juniors and seniors. A strenuous application and review process yields a class of three-hundred to four-hundred rising juniors each year. The school attracts some of the brightest students in North Carolina, with an average SAT score of 2034. Unlike other public high schools, NCSSM promotes STEM fields, as well as cooperation but discourages competition–whether by causation or correlation of these programs, NCSSM consistently ranks as a top high school in the state and country.
Abbott Gaddy, Yelse Hahn, and Ellie Taylor were all Leesville students accepted to NCSSM in their sophomore year. The three now live at the residential school, taking advanced math and science classes.
Not many people know about the school, and even less apply. But for those interested in NCSSM’s advanced classes, but are not accepted, there is another option: online classes.
Online-program students are treated exactly the same as the accepted students and can even join clubs, sports teams, and prom. However, the range of classes available is much greater, spanning from Classical Genetics to Computational Medical Chemistry to Applied Finite Math.
Online students have weekly seminars online over video-chat services like Skype and must complete online assignments like classwork and homework. Once per semester, all the students in the course go to campus and have interactive experiences, like labs or projects.
Leesville’s Hyoungjun Sim, a senior, has been taking classes online at NCSSM.
“It definitely is a lot of work to take one or two more classes per semester on top of four courses from Leesville, but the unique education from the NCSSM online program is definitely fascinating and worth it,” said Sim. Sim has taken Classical Genetics, which spiked his interest in the biomedical field.
Sim says that the school provides more than just academics: “I’ve also met many friends from across North Carolina through NCSSM. I wish that more competitive students would take advantage of this great program without leaving Leesville.”