EDITOR’S NOTE: The name of the HTC Center at Coastal Carolina University has been corrected in this story.

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Nearly 2,800 Horry County students are set to walk across the graduation stage as the school year comes to a close.

To be exact, 2,764 students in the Class of 2023 will graduate this week from the county’s high schools as this year’s seniors head out in many different directions. Some are going to college or studying abroad, and one is even heading to graduate school after being the first to graduate with both high school and college diplomas.

Three seniors have been named National Merit Scholarship winners this year, and a spokesperson for Horry County Schools said they expect more to be named in June or July.

The past few days have been busy with locations being prepared for graduation ceremonies, and there have even been some sentimental moments among seniors during the past week.

“We’ve already started with preparations,” Horry County Schools spokesperson Lisa Bourcier said. “We, our seniors, have started their senior walks through their elementary schools to visit with those students and see some of their prior teachers.”

Graduation ceremonies are taking place on Thursday and Friday, with some at Coastal Carolina University’s HTC Center and some on high school campuses.

While students are excited for the end of the school year, district officials also have reason to celebrate. This is the first year that Horry County Schools has had both the state teacher of the year — Aynor High School’s Renee Atkinson — and the state superintendent of the year — Rick Maxey.

Plus, thanks to the renewal of a 1% sales taxes in Horry County, the district is looking at adding three elementary schools in the Carolina Forest area.

Bourcier said staffing is an ongoing challenge and that the district is already working on changes for the next school year.

“We have made some changes and will be making some changes next school year for substitutes,” Bourcier said. “We are looking to outsource to see if that will assist us being able to achieve a higher pool of candidates to be able to perform those substitute services for us for next year.”

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Taylor Maresca is the weekend morning anchor and morning reporter at News13. She joined the team in June 2022 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Taylor is from Houston. Follow Taylor on Twitter and read more of her work here.