South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics

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South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics
SCGSSM logo.jpg
401 Railroad Ave.
Hartsville, South Carolina
United States
Coordinates34°22′23″N 80°03′54″W / 34.373°N 80.065°W / 34.373; -80.065Coordinates: 34°22′23″N 80°03′54″W / 34.373°N 80.065°W / 34.373; -80.065
TypePublic boarding school
OversightBoard of Trustees
PresidentDr. Hector E. Flores
Number of students279
CampusResidential Dormitories mixed with Labs, Classrooms, and a Gymnasium
Color(s)Navy Blue and Silver
NewspaperThe Govie Gazette
AffiliationSouth Carolina Department of Education
Unofficial NewspaperThe Letter
Executive DirectorElizabeth Dinndorf

The South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics (GSSM) is a public, boarding high school for students in grades 11 and 12, located in Hartsville, South Carolina. The school concentrates on science and mathematics, but offers the full spectrum of the humanities as well. The school has 29 full-time teachers; 86% have earned doctorates and 100% have master's degrees. Students regularly score the highest SAT and ACT average in the state (1925 and 30.2, respectively, in 2016). The school was named among Newsweek's "top 20 elite high schools" in 2009 and The Washington Post's "top-performing schools with elite students" in 2016.[1][2]


Students at GSSM select from a wide-range of STEM courses during their two years on campus. Typically, 18 AP courses are offered and 45% of the STEM courses are listed as "Above AP".[3] Students can conduct semester or year-long scientific investigations,[4] in addition to the required Summer Program for Research Interns (SPRI).[5] During SPRI, students conduct six weeks of mentored scientific, business or economics research at university or corporate R&D labs across South Carolina or in locations across the United States. In 2009, GSSM began the Research Exchange Scholars Program (later renamed the Research Experience Scholars Program) with exchange students from Pforzheim, Germany[6] and Daejeon, Korea. The program has grown to include more locations in Germany and plans are underway to include sites in a number of countries. In 2017, the RESP program included sites in Germany, Korea, and China.

In addition to a rigorous STEM curriculum, GSSM also offers a wealth of humanities courses and a January Interim[7] mini-mester of experiential courses and national and international trips. Courses and trips vary from year to year.


Beyond the education provided to students in residence, the school delivers outreach programs[8] for middle schoolers in satellite locations statewide, as well as for rising 8th through 10th graders at its annual, residential summer program, GoSciTech. Students in Darlington County Schools also benefit from PULSE, a joint program with GSSM, and Coker College, funded by Sonoco.

GoSciTech, originally named Summer Science Program (SSP), began as a one-week program in 1990. As of 2012, the camp expanded to offer up to four weeks of courses and was renamed GoSciTech. In 2016, nearly 30 courses were offered to over 500 students.

Satellite camps include iTEAMS Xtreme and iTEAMS Xtreme: Next Generation, computer science, technology and robotics day camps. CREATEng, an engineering and design thinking day camp, was added in 2014. More than 1300 students and teachers from across the state participated in GSSM's summer outreach programs during the 2016 summer.


The school was founded in 1988 by Governor Carroll Campbell and Charles W. Coker on the grounds of Coker College. It moved to a purpose-built campus nearby in 2003.[9] In 2010, two new wings were added: the Academic Wing, containing classrooms and laboratories, and the Student Activities Center, which includes an engineering projects center and also a gym, weight room, game room, and kitchen.[10]


Admission to GSSM is by application and open to any resident of South Carolina in his or her sophomore year of high school. More than 350 students apply each year for the coming junior class, with about 149 invited in 2016 (varying from year to year so that the student body size at the start of each year is 288). Applications are due by February 1 before the school year in which the students will begin attending. It should be noted that a score on one of the following standardized tests is required for admittance: PSAT, SAT, or the ACT. The remaining students are placed on a waiting list, which is pulled from should any of the originally selected students decide not to accept.

Student life[edit]

SCGSSM State Soccer Championship 2012

All students live in residence at the School. Each suites consists of two rooms and a bathroom, each room housing two students. There are common areas on each hall for studying, relaxing and spending time together.

Much of the student body participates in the school's numerous clubs and societies. Many students also participate in varsity athletics with cross country, swimming, volleyball, tennis and soccer teams consistently ranked highly and/or participating in state championships. In 2018, the boys soccer team won the South Carolina division 1A state championship.[11]

Students are required to complete 50 hours of community service annually, though a majority of the students surpass this requirement. Service projects include tutoring local students and residents, computer, website and IT help for business owners, volunteering at the animal shelter and food bank, and helping around campus.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Aziz Ansari - actor, comedian, and filmmaker[12]
  • Hon. Shiva Hodges - U.S. Magistrate for the District of South Carolina

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Governor's School for Science and Mathematics among Top 20 public elite high schools". South Carolina Department of Education.
  2. ^ "Top-performing schools with elite students". The Washington Post.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Ray, Rusty (October 6, 2010). "Governor's School brings the best and brightest to Hartsville". SC Now.
  10. ^ "Mission and History". South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics.
  11. ^ "2015 Report Card" (PDF). State of South Carolina.
  12. ^ "NBC's Parks and Recreation star has SC ties". WIST.

External links[edit]