SOCASTEE, SC (WBTW) – Right now in Horry County, there are schools like Scholars Academy and The Academy of Arts and Sciences that compete with other base schools in the county for things like scholarships and class rank. 

Merritt Welch is only a freshman at Socastee High School, and she’s already worried about how she’ll compete with other students in the district for class rank. 

“I’m taking honors Government and Economics, and I know for a fact that Scholars offers AP Government and Economics. We don’t have that opportunity here or at any of the other base schools. So, there’s no way for us to obtain a GPA as high as theirs at scholars,” said Welch.

Welch created a petition asking for change because she says right now, the system isn’t fair.

“I want them to have their own class rankings and own graduation so they can’t be our valedictorian when they haven’t set foot in this school in all four years when there’s a student who’s a point less than them who would be valedictorian who’s been here day in and day out for all four years,” said Welch.

She says she’s already seen this impact some of her family members that were up against students at Scholars and AAST for scholarships.

“It’s going to affect me and many of my friends that are taking higher level classes that are smarter than I am,” said Welch 

Horry County School Board Chair Joe DeFeo says he agrees it’s unfair. 

“This has actually been discussed before by the school board. In fact, I supported making it its own high school, like early college because I felt it was, in my opinion, it was actually a little more fair to separate it,” said DeFeo.

DeFeo says previous administration worried separating the schools would lower the county’s test scores. 

“You know, I’m a little bit tired of the scoring situation. The federal government has basically destroyed education in the United States. They put us in categories of let’s test them, let’s test them, let’s test them and it has nothing to do with the learning process,” said DeFeo.

Now, Welch says she has one request for the district.  

“I hope that the school board will vote on this and make it to where it is fair to all students in Horry County,” said Welch.  

Several parents have commented on Welch’s petition agreeing the way the system is now is unfair. 


They claim their kids were beat out for class rank and thousands of dollars in scholarships by students in the other schools. 

DeFeo says this is an issue he’s ready and willing to take back to other school board members to change.