AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF)- A big day ahead over at USC Aiken. Wednesday morning, the school will celebrate this year’s incoming freshmen.
With nearly 650 students, the Class of 2027 is on track to be the largest freshman class in school history.
Later this morning, the freshman class will celebrate the beginning of their college years at the freshman convocation.
Started in 2016, it’s a beloved tradition that motivates and inspires students, and this year, some extra special freshmen will participate.
“It’s a big group of freshmen. You get to see everybody, see how big the freshmen class is,” said sophomore, Skylar Shirey.
During the convocation the freshman class gathers at the Quad fountain and walks to the convocation center together for the ceremony.
Shirey said USC Aiken’s freshman convocation is symbolic and a moment that she remembers fondly from her freshman year.
“And then you all walk over as a freshman class to the Convocation Center and you enter for the first time as a class. And then you’re going to leave together in 4 years as a class. So it’s really, really special.”
The ceremony is an extra big deal for one group of freshmen. It’s the first year for the new Pacer LIFE program where Shirey is a resident assistant.
The freshmen in this program are students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They learn life skills that will help them become independent adults.
“And this program, it’s only been here for a week and I’m already in love with it. I almost cried the first time they moved in because I was so excited,” said Shirey. “But, my girls are, like, the best people I’ve ever met and they’re so sweet and they’re just wonderful.”
The Pacer LIFE students moved into their dorms last week.
Roommates Lizzy Cottington, Megan Weeks and Amelia Carpenter all say they already love each other and are having a great time.
“We had a pool party. We had a block party. And we just kind of hung out together,” explained Cottington.
“I love being with my friends and of course I love spending time with my family. I look forward to, well, I get to experience more freedom and more fun,” said Weeks
They say they are excited about the Freshman Convocation and starting their college careers. Being a part of the first class of the Pacer LIFE program means a lot to them.
“To, like, make me the best I can be in the real world. I’m one of the special ones,” smiled Carpenter.
The freshmen will gather at the quad fountain at 9 a.m. and walk over to the convocation center where the convocation ceremony begins at 10 a.m.
Thursday, August 24, is the first day of classes.