Getting Schooled

Graduating Seniors

By: Kym Mirabella

Mason Murray, Graduating High School Senior
Anderson Five Charter School Class of 2023

Mason Murray is an enthusiastic and accomplished High School Senior with admirable plans for the future!

Murray enjoys attending the Anderson Five Charter High School. He reflected on his experience there and appreciates his Math Teacher, Ms. Tracy James. He explained, “I always struggled with Math, but she helped me understand it like a puzzle, a concept… not just boring numbers. It was my downfall, but my teacher helped me succeed.”

Murray was born in Greenville but grew up in Anderson. He commented, “Anderson has a small town feel and a big city vibe.”

Given the growing culture and events in Anderson, Murray has lots to do. He is a member of the Beta Club where he has volunteered for the Cancer Society and he works as a Baker at Crumbl Cookies. He added, “I always liked to bake as a hobby, but now working at a bakery in a  professional setting with a storefront, it has really given me confidence…that the customers are enjoying the products I made!”

And with such a strong work ethic and academic acumen in place, Murray will be attending Tri-County Technical College with a keen vision: to earn his degree in Psychology. He explained, “I took a Psychology class in High School and it helped me understand the subject and what being a Psychologist would entail. I always enjoyed the idea of helping other people.”

With that in mind, Murray’s long-term goal is to attend Tri-County Technical College for two years and after transfer to a University. He continued, “Perhaps later in life I may further my education (even more) and obtain my Doctorate… and become a Psychiatrist.” 

For a young man, Murray has clear optics formed and has proven quite capable.

Denise Durant
Crescent High School Class of 2023

Denise Durant enjoyed growing up in Anderson, SC and is a graduating senior of Crescent High School. She enjoys the parks and the PAWS Animal Shelter due to her love of animals.

Given Durant’s interest in animals, her favorite teacher is Mr. Phillip Rhodes who teaches agricultural science. He taught me to come out of “my normal”. I’ve never dealt with cows before!”

Durant has had more challenges than most due to a disability and said, “I have a condition called degenerative myopia.” (Which causes damage to the retina, a common cause of legal blindness.)  She continued “My eye condition causes me a lot of hardship. While I was in school I didn’t get the help I needed until my 8th grade year.”

Thankfully Durant was supplied with low vision equipment, training and emotional support. She has formed a strong bond with support staff, proven the nickname they gave “De Nice” “They always pushed me to keep trying and (that) has helped me get through my last five years.” She continued, “I believe my eyes are a blessing, but also a curse. I say that because the blessing is me being able to get the help that I need to be able to be successful. But my curse is me not being able to do things that my friends and family can do like driving and things of the sort.”

She is excited for her future! Her plan is to go to Tri-County Technical College next fall and after transfer to Clemson University. And of course, she wants to major in Veterinary Technologies.

With such courageous optimism and commitment to animals, lets give well wishes to Denise Durant and her future.

Beth Wiggins
English Major
Anderson University, Class of 2023

Beth Wiggins grew up in the small town of Clinton, South Carolina, but she always had her eye on Anderson University (AU). Wiggins stated, “I chose Anderson University because I wanted my academic, social, and working life to be Christ-centered. I knew I wanted to be surrounded by like-minded individuals, and I felt a calling toward AU for this very reason. When you set foot on campus, you immediately feel that God has called you to be part of this beautiful community, and I immediately knew I was home.”

Having such focus and determination at a young age motivated Wiggins to compete and win a Teaching Fellowship at Anderson University at the high school level. She explained the Fellowship process by saying, “‘Teaching Fellows’ is a very big honor. You apply through CERRA, (The South Carolina Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement – A non-profit organization providing collaborative leadership) towards the middle of your senior year in high school. Out of thousands of applicants, only 230 are granted fellowships across the state, and Anderson University takes around twenty-five each year.”

After accomplishing so much already as a college senior, Beth has now set new lofty goals. “I want to go back to school and get my Masters degree while I teach. I plan to stay in the upstate so I’m never really that far from campus (AU has this amazing power to never let you stray too far away). I would love to stay in Anderson! I’ll actually be teaching at Pendleton High School in the fall because I wanted to stay in the area. I have considered being a college professor eventually, and I would definitely prefer to come back to AU if I settled on that decision. I would love to prepare teacher candidates in the same way I was.”

 Anderson is lucky to have such a rising star as new teacher at Pendelton High School this fall. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for Beth Wiggins.

Anderson Magazine would like congratulate all of the amazing 2023 graduates all around our area. You have reached a great milestone in your life, so hold on to the moment! The world is yours for the taking.