• Columbia High-National Defense – BLAST Magnet

    Program Overview

    The Richland One BLAST (Building Lasting Aerospace and STEM Trajectories) Magnet School, situated at Columbia High hosts 4 elite academies. The program is open to any high school or rising high school student, enrolled within the Richland School District One jurisdiction. We even provide transportation, at no cost to the family. Our 4 unique pathways emphasize excellence in Aerospace and STEM readiness: 

    • The Academy of Aerospace
    • The Academy of Biomedical Sciences
    • The Academy of Cyber Security
    • The Academy of Engineering

    BLAST’s innovative approach creates an optimal student experience by combining excitement, savvy curriculum and the latest technology. Each academy is aligned with exceptional industry partners which prepare students for immediate success. Students in the Academy of Aerospace, for example, may gain an FAA 107 Drone Professional Pilot’s license before they graduate high school and interview with Lockheed Martin. Not only is there a market gap in professional drone operators, but that one career presently pays up to $125 an hour. In collaborating with industry, we create a direct educational pipeline to premier companies around the state and nation. 

    Here at BLAST, we encourage your scholar to unleash their ingenuity well beyond the traditional classroom. Thus, we provide frequent off-campus field experiences, internship opportunities, and project-based learning. We further offer competitive educational models through dual college enrollment, professional certifications, career- specific readiness, gaming, summer esports camps, and more. 

    Fortunately, program cost is not an issue, either. Our BLAST Magnet Academies are funded through a $14.9 million K12 federal magnet school assistance grant, over the span of 5 years. Even more, our stellar program design is the first K-12 Aerospace continuum in the nation. So, we invite you and your scholar to join the BLAST—where we re-engineer education and imagine what’s possible.

    Course Catalog

    Offering competitive coursework is essential. Thus, we have deliberately selected leading national curriculum models in each content area. Paired with exceptional staffing and the latest technology, we set students up for success in the global STEM economy. Here are just a few of the classes in which students may enroll--based upon academy selected.

    • Introduction to Engineering & Design 
    • Aerospace Engineering 
    • Computer Integrated Manufacturing 
    • Digital Electronics 
    • Computer Science Principles 
    • Environmental Sustainability 
    • Principles of Biomedical Sciences 
    • Human Body Systems 
    • Medical Interventions 
    • Biomedical Innovation
    • Computer Science (CS) Essentials 
    • CS Principles 
    • Cybersecurity

    NASA Partnerships

    Housed in Columbia SC, the NASA Challenger Learning Center offers unique yearly experiences, to any of our students. Scholars can participate in life-like mission controls and compete with rocketry. Our students and even our teachers have the rare opportunity to conduct demonstrations and gain certifications. These initiatives are led by a NASA Commander, possessing Certified Rocket Science credentials in High Power Level 1 technology. Every scholar can become a direct benefactor of NASA’s national initiatives in aerospace, engineering, medical science, digital technology, and imaging development.

    Press Highlights and Features

    It is important that we clearly communicate our message to students, families, and community stakeholders. Hence, RSD1 Communications is instrumental in our ability to gain exposure through media. Each of our 4 magnet academies have been featured on talk radio, WLTX, WIS, ABC, and in the Post and Courier.


    Joy Obidike, PhD Biomedical Sciences | Magnet Program Site Manger | joy.obidike@richlandone.org | 803.731.8950

    Dr. Shawn Washington | Columbia High School | Principal | shawn.washington@richlandone.org | 803.731.8950