About the CHAMPS program

Mission Statement

Initiated by the collective thinking of leaders from Presbyterian College and the Laurens County, S.C. community, CHAMPS (Communities Helping, Assisting, and Motivating Promising Students) brings together local institutions and the community to find a fresh solution to a persistent education problem.

The CHAMPS mission is to nurture, motivate, and challenge students who have the potential but who otherwise may fall short of their highest educational capability. CHAMPS provides promising students with a vision of their future and stimulates them to strive toward post-secondary education.

History of Success

Since its inauguration on January 20, 1995, and since its first enrollment of 30 students in July of that year, CHAMPS has added 30 rising seventh graders each consecutive summer. It reached its full residential capacity of 120 students in 1998.

The students are carefully monitored, tracked, and assisted throughout the year in order to keep them focused on their short- and long- range goals. They are encouraged to improve their grades, self-esteem, and social skills. They initiate, coordinate and complete community service projects, and they extend their education horizon to include post-secondary and career plans.

Since 2001, when the first group enrolled in college, CHAMPS has been channeling over 90% of its graduates to colleges and universities.


Are you a CHAMPS alum? We’d love to hear from you!
Please complete the Google Form or the PDF fillable form*
*If you do not have a Gmail/Google account.
CHAMPS | Religious Life & Service | Presbyterian College | Clinton SC

The CHAMPS program accepts 30 rising 7th-grade students annually. Students follow a stringent application process that begins at their school and channels to the CHAMPS office for final selection by the Student Selection Committee. Once selected for the CHAMPS program, the rising 7th-grade students and parents sign on to a 6-year commitment. Through CHAMPS, students are given opportunities to serve the community in addition to academic, social, and spiritual engagements.


Carefully selected mainly from the Presbyterian college student body, CHAMPS mentors serve as a role model for the CHAMPS students and assist them in the development of self-esteem, self-discipline, teamwork, and principled living. The mentors play a vital role in the CHAMPS program.


Parents play an active role in the CHAMPS program through the Parents Council and Fathers Council. The councils assist the CHAMPS office in planning and implementing monthly programs and other events that promote the mission of the program.


CHAMPS teachers are selected from Laurens County School Districts 55 and 56 to teach hands-on classes during the summer program. Presbyterian College professors and their students donate their time and expertise to design and offer an academic workshop for CHAMPS students as a part of the monthly academic programs. The college professors are from the science departments, English, ROTC, Art, Music, Athletics, Psychology, and Education.

CHAMPS | Religious Life & Service | Presbyterian College | Clinton SC

Critical to the CHAMPS program is the academic focus. All activities point to this center all year round. Grades are monitored and students are urged to score at A/B level. Serious preparation for college begins as early as in the 7th grade.

The CHAMPS curriculum is divided into two major phases: (1) four years of a one-week residential academic program for 7th to 10th graders which focus on humanities, fine arts, sciences, character education, and computer training, (2) two years of comprehensive college prep and off-campus internship curriculum for 11th and 12th graders.

Monthly academic programs are conducted from September to April for 7th to 10th graders. These programs are led by Presbyterian College faculty and students. The disciplines represented this year are science, psychology, ROTC, and history. Each Saturday includes a praise and worship opening, an hour and 15 minutes of Girl’s Circle and Boy’s Council curriculum led by public school teachers and PC mentors, and then the academic program for an hour and a half. 11th and 12th graders also meet monthly in our newly created College Literacy program led by PC honor’s students from the various disciplines and staff members from our Career Services, Admissions, and Financial Aid departments along with public school guidance counselors. While students are engaged in academic endeavors, the parents are also meeting under the leadership of the CHAMPS Parent’s Council. Students engage in service learning each semester and participate in area college and job fairs throughout the year.

Character Education

For CHAMPS, success begins with character development. Principles of Christian education remain a foundation on which determined character is built. CHAMPS students are trained and expected to be leaders in their respected schools, homes, and communities.


The students learn early the value and integrity that go with the habit of giving back to the community. They accumulate community service hours over the 6-year period they remain in CHAMPS prior to enrolling in college.  In their college application essay, the students reflect on the impact of their community service on character, career plans, and social skills.

CHAMPS | Religious Life & Service | Presbyterian College | Clinton SC

CHAMPS is a product of collective thinking. Education, business, and church leaders from the Laurens County (SC) community came together at Presbyterian College with the leadership of the college president to discuss the seriousness of the education issues in the county. Eighteen months later, CHAMPS was inaugurated in 1995 as a partnership between Presbyterian College, Laurens School Districts 55 and 56, churches, businesses, and county citizens. Today this partnership stands as an adhesive force that brings together the resources and expertise of our community for the education of our students.

CHAMPS relies on all the partners to sustain it. In addition to financial and in-kind contributions, businesses support CHAMPS by providing students with opportunities to experience the workplace. Churches contribute financially and are heavily involved in leading worship services during the summer residential program and they bring exceedingly good snacks. The school districts provide transportation, financial support, and staff for both the academic year and summer programs. Caring individuals from the community (and beyond) join with businesses, churches, school districts, and PC to finance the CHAMPS program. Many speakers from the community share their thoughts and experiences during the summer program.

Presbyterian College students and student organizations provide volunteer hours to tutor CHAMPS students and complete community service hours. Student Volunteer Services at PC offers a Girl Scout troop for CHAMPS middle schoolers and honor society members coordinate the College Literacy program for 11th and 12th graders. Sigma Nu Fraternity works with the CHAMPS Father’s Council to support special father and son projects.

Each gift to CHAMPS brings opportunities for 7th through 12th graders in Laurens County to aspire to post-secondary education. CHAMPS students have the ability but may lack the necessary resources to perceive themselves as achieving education past high school.

By contributing to CHAMPS, you help make it possible for Laurens County, SC, students to achieve their educational dreams and become future leaders in the community.

Gifts may be made to:

Presbyterian College
403 South Adair Street
Clinton, SC  29325

For more information, contact the CHAMPS office at 864-833-8476.

A Coordinating Team drawn from Presbyterian College and the Laurens county community supports Presbyterian College in its CHAMPS program. The Coordinating Team is comprised of the following sub-committees: Finance and Budget, Fundraising and Publicity, Student and Teacher Selection, Mentor Selection, Summer Program, and Curriculum.


Rev. Rachel Parsons-Wells
Director of  Religious Life and Community Engagement
Office: 863-833-7000


Susanne McCarley
Administrative Assistant
Office: 864-833-8476