When you have a thirst for education, there’s nothing like the real thing – just ask the five freshmen in the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholars Program.

These first-generation students are getting the long, satisfying taste of higher education that they’ve always wanted, thanks to a grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation, which will provide each

of them a $20,000 scholarship ($5,000 a year for four years). While also satisfying the College’s goal to recruit, enroll and retain an academically distinguished, well-prepared and diverse student body, the newly established scholarship supports the Coca-Cola Scholars through career and financial workshops as well as proactive counseling, mentoring, tutoring, advising and career-placement services.

It all started this year, with the first-ever Coca-Cola Scholars attending Operation College Success – a three-day summer boot camp connecting them with academic resources and cultural opportunities and preparing them for their academic careers.

For these five S.C. freshmen, it was just a taste of the real thing ahead.

(clockwise, from top) Sam McCauley (Greenville), Cheri Hainsworth (Spartanburg), Meagan Dunham (Marion), Erin Spencer (York) and Ariel McShane (Spartanburg)