The Citizen Scholars Program was founded in 1996 as an initiative of The Spartanburg County Foundation. It inducted one cohort from only one school district every year. Since its inception in 1996 through 2015, the Citizen Scholars Program served 212 students. If a Scholar graduated from high school and met all requirements, he/she was awarded a $10,500.00 scholarship.
Of those who could have graduated from college, 51% earned a post-secondary degree.
The original program connected public school students in all seven school districts with mentors who provided them with knowledge, encouragement, and support for seven years beginning in grade six and continuing through high school graduation. Students participated in monthly educational workshops, received tutoring as needed, learned important life skills, and engaged in cultural enrichment.
In 2016, the Program became the Citizen Scholars Institute and was reformatted to expand its reach and impact. With the full support of all seven school district superintendents, sixth graders are identified each year as Scholars on a continuing basis. Scholars attend a monthly seminar where they are instructed by teachers from their respective District. They attend multiple summer events that have academic, professional, and cultural focuses. Additionally, Scholars are mentored through college graduation and are engaged in an active Alumni Association.
Currently 266 Scholars are being served: 163 are in grades sixth through twelve, 31 are enrolled in college, and 72 are members of the Alumni Association. Within six years, there could be as many as 1,225 Citizen Scholars representing Spartanburg.