Two locals graduate from N.C. School of Science & Mathematics

Published 11:27 am Friday, June 2, 2023

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Local students were among 344 from all across North Carolina who graduated this year as members of the residential Class of 2023 of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham.

Charles Andrew Ballentine and Donovan Grey Wilkie, both of Polk County High School, graduated from NCSSM.

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.

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Rising sophomores statewide may now apply for the residential program and/or to the NCSSM Online program. The state of North Carolina and private, philanthropic donors make all the programs possible at no cost to the students and their families 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 Koch — who returned to Earth in February 2020 after setting a new record for continuous time in space by a woman aboard the International Space Station. She has since been selected to fly near the moon on one of NASA’s Artemis missions.

It was the 42nd graduating class of the Durham-based residential program. More info is available at


 Submitted by Bryan Gilmer