South Carolina State Fair Awards $530,000 in College Scholarships 

S.C. State Fair awards largest scholarship fund in its history to 53 South Carolina students.

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The three people in front holding the check (left to right) are Steve White, CEO of EMC Tickets, Nancy Smith, General Manager of the S.C. State Fair, and Lauren Conner, Circle K Regional Director of Operations. Additional people in the photo (left to right): Gerald Hay, District Manager; Val Fleurisma, College to Convenience Candidate; Tiffany McClinton, District Manager; Paul Montgomery, District Manager; Leslie Slaughter, District Manager and Michelle Bowling, District Manager.

May 20, 2024 (Columbia, S.C.)
 – The South Carolina State Fair has announced the 2024 recipients of its annual Ride of Your Life Scholarship program. This year, 53 high school seniors across the state have been chosen to receive these prestigious $10,000 scholarships.

Thanks to a generous $34,000 donation from Circle K and EMC Tickets, the S.C. State Fair was able to award an additional three scholarships, increasing the total from 50 to 53. One of the 53 scholarships was exclusively designated for a Circle K employee or dependant.

Diverse group of young adult and teenage college students are smiling while walking together outdoors on school campus. Hispanic, Caucasain, and African American students are wearing backpacks, trendy clothing, and are carrying school books.

“We’re thrilled to announce this year’s scholarship recipients and to invest in these students’ futures,” says South Carolina State Fair general manager, Nancy Smith. “Our scholarship program is at the heart of what we do here at the South Carolina State Fair, and supporting future scholars from our state means a great deal to our organization.”

Each year, the South Carolina State Fair, a self-supporting 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, awards scholarships to South Carolina high school students planning to pursue their studies at any public or private college, university, or technical college in the state of South Carolina. These $10,000 scholarships are awarded at an annual rate of $2,500 and are based on academic and extracurricular achievement, communication skills, need and completeness of the application.

This year, applicants were asked to write an essay responding to the thought-provoking question, “If you could have a theme song, what would it be and why?”

“One thing that struck me most was how the answers seemed to connect me with the individuals. It is amazing how much you can learn about a person’s life through their connection with a song,” says Smith. “This essay prompt allowed us to really see just how interesting, how deep, and how creative this year’s applicants were.”

“Charleston, South Carolina, USA – March 28, 2012: Students walk between classes through the middle of the College of Charleston campus late on a Spring day”

The S.C. State Fair has a long history of supporting education, and the Ride of Your Life Scholarship program is just one of the many ways in which the organization gives back to the community. Since the program’s inception in 1997, the S.C. State Fair has awarded more than $5 million in scholarships.

This year’s recipients were chosen from a competitive pool of applicants from across the state, representing all seven of South Carolina’s congressional districts. The scholarship funds must be used at a South Carolina university, college, or institution and may cover tuition or other educational expenses such as on-campus housing, a computer or textbooks. Recipients must retain a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale and enroll in no less than 30 credit hours each academic year to receive funding for that year. 

To celebrate the individuality and spirit of this year’s scholarship recipients, the S.C. State Fair has created a playlist featuring most of the theme songs chosen by the students. Dive into the soundtrack of these future scholars’ lives and discover the music that inspires them.  Link to the playlist here.

Find a complete list of scholarship recipients here.

About the South Carolina State Fair

The South Carolina State Fair, a self-supporting 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was organized in 1869 and is dedicated to preserving and promoting South Carolina’s agricultural roots while supporting statewide education. In addition to the 12-day South Carolina State Fair, the charitable organization manages annual football parking, is a popular event venue, and has awarded more than $5 million in scholarships since 1997.

More information can be found at

The PalmettoEye highlights the people, places, events, and culture of the Palmetto state through the lens of native South Carolinians. With curated news, editorials, videos, podcasts, and photo essays, we share a unique view of life and living in South Carolina. The PalmettoEye is also your place for discovering cultural and historic landmarks from around the state as well as events and attractions to watch out for and the latest in dining and shopping and other noteworthy attributes that make the Palmetto State one of the world’s most beautiful places with smiling faces.

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