We are thrilled with the accomplishments of all of our students in their various activities: academics, athletics and the arts. For example, we had six National Merit Semifinalists in the class of 2016. We had two athletes named as a 2016 Gatorade Player of the Year: Kasey Parker in girls' soccer and Jhileiya Dunlap in girls' basketball. Band, orchestra, chorus and theater students were rated superior in statewide competitions.
There is yet another area in which we see our students excelling: our growing Engineering program. As a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) school, Dreher offers a curriculum that introduces students to systematic problem-solving and prepares them for college majors and careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.
Blue Devils have been responding positively to their opportunities. During the 2014-2015 school year there were forty-one students enrolled in the Introduction to Engineering course. During the 2015-2016 school year there were more than double that number - eighty-five students - in the introductory course. And our students seem to enjoy their exposure to engineering: over 60% of students in the introductory course have chosen to continue in higher level PLTW courses. For the 2016-2017 school year, we are adding another course option to our PLTW lineup: Aerospace Engineering. Students fascinated by robotics also can pursue this interest by joining our successful Robotics Team, Blue Devil Mechanics.
Our PLTW students and teachers are rising to the challenge of the national curriculum. In their first ever end-of-course exams, Dreher students outscored their PLTW counterparts nationwide. In our introductory course, 84% of our students scored at the proficient (49.4%) or advanced (34.5%) levels, compared to a nationwide expectation of 65% combined in those two categories. In the second level course, Principles of Engineering, 58% of our students were proficient or advanced. In the next higher level course, Civil Engineering, 70% of our students were proficient or advanced.
Students are finding that participating in PLTW can prepare them for the future. Project Lead the Way and the College Board's Advanced Placement (AP) program have combined to offer a College and Career Pathway in Engineering. Students who successfully complete the Pathway will receive AP+PLTW recognition, demonstrating college and career readiness.
Our AP programs are expanding, as well. In the 2016-2017 school year, students will be able to study AP Environmental Science. In addition, we are proud to be one of the first schools in the nation to offer the AP Capstone Diploma Program, adding the AP Seminar and AP Research courses to our nearly two dozen content-related courses. Successful completion of the AP Capstone program results in the prestigious AP Capstone Diploma.
The mission of Dreher High School mirrors that of Richland County School District One: We are Dreher High School, a leader in transforming through education, empowering all students to achieve their potential and dreams.
Our vision is that Dreher High School, by maintaining a safe, caring environment and providing a rigorous education, will prepare every student to be a successful, contributing citizen in a global society.
Dreher believes that: