Three years ago, Higher Learning Community After School Program started as a way to offer a little bit of extra assistance to students in Clarendon County. Now, it operates as a fully functioning after school tutoring program that assists children from kindergarten to twelfth grade.
“We started off strictly tutoring, and it grew from there,” said Marsha Evans.
Children come in every day after school and complete their homework with assistance from the programs staff. This gives them an extra opportunity to learn from qualified individuals. Some of these children might not receive this extra help at home.
“We want to be able to help them a lot, because we know how busy some of their parents might be,” said Evans. “A lot of these students have families that have to go to work, and we want to be there to give them that extra support.”
This after school program isn’t like others, however. They take it a step above. Staff members from Higher Learning sit in with students during a handful of classes to get a better understanding of the classroom. They observe the teaching styles and habits of the school employees and do their best to mimic them at the program. This allows for students that participate to have a more streamlined education.
“We like to know how our students are learning so that we can continue that education when they come to us,” said Evans.
The Higher Learning Community also takes the “Community” aspect very seriously.
“We wanted to give back to the community,” said Evans. “Without them, we would not be here.”
They do this through small events throughout the year, the most recent of which was a “Drive-thru appreciation cookout.” Taking place at the Anytime Fitness Plaza, community members were invited to come and enjoy free shaved ice desserts and food.
Evans also makes sure her kids get plenty of extracurricular stimulation during the school year. Back in November, they hosted boys night. During this event boxer Gabe Blackwell came and held a small boxing class with a few of the students at Higher Learning.
The crew also takes their students on trips to places like Carowinds. They also help their high school students with post-graduation plans.
“We have college tours for our seniors and juniors,” said Evans. “We also have various plant and workforce tours as well, because not everyone goes to college.”
Throughout the recent global pandemic, Higher Learning didn’t slow down. They wanted to make sure their students were still learning as effectively as possible and made various efforts to do so.
“It has been a little difficult adjusting to the new norm,” said Evans.
However, Higher Learning Community After School Program has pushed on, and will continue to serve the future of Clarendon County.