DURHAM — Local students were among nearly 350 from all across North Carolina who graduated as members of the residential Class of 2019 of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics on the school’s Durham campus Saturday, May 25.
Grads from Watauga County included Emma Grace Alexander-Eitzman, Landon Garrett Burt, Ryan William Catoe and Bryant H. Hou.
Students with high abilities in math and science began their studies at their local high school, then as sophomores applied to the selective world-class public high school with statewide reach. Those accepted lived on the Durham campus in dormitories during their junior and senior years, taking high-level classes in not just science, technology, engineering and mathematics but also in the humanities. The state of North Carolina and private, philanthropic donors made this possible at no cost to the students for tuition, room, board or books.
The school counts among its alumni scores of entrepreneurs, educators, physicians, researchers, teachers and some famous figures, such as NASA astronaut Christina Hammock-Koch — currently orbiting Earth aboard the International Space Station — and Rhiannon Giddens, a founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops string band and recipient of a MacArthur fellowship. NCSSM’s graduates now look ahead. Come fall, they will head off to 81 different colleges and universities. Nearly 70 percent of those graduates will remain in North Carolina to begin their collegiate careers.
NCSSM is now building a second residential campus in Morganton, near Hickory, to open in 2021, which will allow it to serve an additional 300 students and enhance its distance educational offerings.