PC welcomes brightest high school students for biggest scholarship interviews

February 20, 2023

Presbyterian College invited some of the area’s brightest high school students to campus Saturday for the college’s two most prestigious scholarships.

Students made their final pitches in the Service Entrepreneurship Competition, America’s largest service entrepreneurship case competition for high school seniors. PC also interviewed students for the Griffith Scholarship, PC’s most prized academic scholarship.

Jim Samples

Alumnus Jim Samples ’85, a longtime media executive best known as the former general manager and executive vice president of Cartoon Network and president of HGTV, welcomed students and parents by sharing the essential lessons he learned as a PC student.

As a young man struggling to find out what he wanted to be, Samples said PC offered him opportunities to learn new things, challenge his beliefs, and explore various academic interests.

Samples told students about his scholarship interviews – feeling lost, nervous, and inadequate. Afterward, however, Samples said he could not imagine going to college anywhere else but PC.

“I was ecstatic when PC offered me a scholarship,” he said, “because this was a chance to get an education that I honestly knew I wouldn’t have able to afford otherwise. To this day, I’m very grateful that PC took a chance on me.”

Samples praised students for their drive and commitment to service and their goals to make a difference in the world and said PC is the perfect place to explore their interests and discover where and how they can have the most significant impact.

“I believe in the strength of PC,” he said.

If the ideas presented in their interviews are any indication, several prospective students already embrace PC’s motto, “While We Live, We Serve.”

Tyler Doctor is a senior at Lugoff-Elgin High School who wants to mentor students like him who were raised in single-parent households. A friend at work who went to PC and loved it inspired him to visit last fall, and he, too, fell in love with the college. He aims to help others like him navigate the world after graduating high school.

Garron Greiner hopes to tackle addiction after he graduates this spring from Crescent High School in Anderson. The issue is personal for Greiner, whose parents have struggled with addiction.

“It’s really impacted my family a lot,” he said. “It is a problem that I’m really connected with personally, and I saw an opportunity to change that through the PC Service Entrepreneurship program. Presbyterian College is a community service-focused school – it’s their motto. It would be different if I was here – I would feel backed by the entire school and not just the only person at another school who wants to work on this problem. I wouldn’t have that system of support or that feeling that everyone is pushing me forward to be able to do what I want to do.”

Maddison Hogue, a senior at York Comprehensive High School in York, wants to become a pharmacist and expand health care screenings and care to impoverished people with no health insurance. She is drawn to PC’s close-knit sense of community.

“I just love the relationships that I can build build with professors and the good education I can receive by having those tight-knit relationships,” she said.

Kalasia Middleton is a senior at Ninety Six High School in Greenwood County. Her dream is to build a multicultural museum in her community to help children and their families learn more about their own culture – and other people’s cultures. Middleton believes that such a program can address another societal problem – bullying.

“Bullying starts when people are younger and what they learn when they’re younger and it progresses,” she said. “So, if they can learn to appreciate their culture and others, maybe it can stop some of the harm that happens when people bully each other. I feel like my community needs it. I feel like we need to be closer together and close-knit and actually care about each other.”

Middleton said PC is the community she wants to become a part of.

“PC is all about community,” she said. “I love that and they have this competition – this awesome opportunity.”

Alumnus Harold Nichols ’89, former head football coach and current chief executive officer of the Clinton YMCA, closed the day of interviews with an inspiring speech on the lessons he learned as a student at PC.

Despite his earliest struggles on the field and with homesickness, Nichols said he quickly discovered that sticking it out at PC was one of his best decisions.

“It helped me get a foundation here,” he said. “I found out that PC has a caring faculty. I found classmates and teammates that I’m friends with to this day. This college game me the foundation to be a critical thinker – how to put my thoughts down on paper and to be able to work well with others. I received the broad-based educational principles I’ve been able to use my entire life.”

Nichols said PC also provided him with a platform to serve others as a coach and community leader. He told students they, too, have the opportunity to build relationships at PC that will guide them for the rest of their lives.

“I’ve met people who are unbelievably influential in my life – coaches, teachers, professors, ministers, and youth pastors,” Nichols said. “You’ve heard people today talking about their experiences here at PC, about being a difference maker as a leader. PC brings out the leaders in all of you.”