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Project list for penny sales tax approved

in School News/Schools/The Bluffton News by

Last week, the Beaufort County Board of Education approved a detailed list of school facilities projects that would be funded if voters approve a one-penny education sales tax in November.

Those projects include two new schools and additions to other buildings to accommodate rapidly growing student enrollments, as well as roof replacements and HVAC upgrades at numerous schools across the district.

The board voted last month to place the Educational Capital Improvement Sales and Use Tax referendum on the November 2016 general election ballot for consideration by local voters. If approved, the one-penny sales tax would generate revenue to fund the district’s capital needs for the next 10 years and also share the responsibility for generating those funds among property owners, renters, businesses and tourists.

The board’s vote detailing specific building and maintenance projects to be placed on the ballot was the next step in the referendum process.

“Funds from the one-penny education sales tax referendum would be used exclusively for capital projects as specified on the ballot question; state law would prohibit the funds from being used for operations,” the board said in an official statement released after last month’s initial vote. “In addition, all Beaufort County property owners’ taxes on debt service, including 4 percent homeowners, 6 percent homeowners, businesses, vehicles, etc., would be reduced by one-third over the period of time the tax is in place.”

The board said that numerous public meetings would be scheduled prior to the November general election to provide voters with facts relating to the listed projects and enrollment growth.

“The board’s goal is to ensure that parents, employees, and all Beaufort County taxpayers have access to the information they need to make an informed decision in the voting booth,” the statement said.

The board also voted to include the Technical College of the Lowcountry and the University of South Carolina Beaufort in the district’s Educational Capital Improvement Sales and Use Tax referendum, with each institution receiving 5 percent of revenues generated.

A referendum FAQ can be reviewed online at the school district website www.beaufort.k12.sc.us.

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2016 Beaufort County graduates

in School News/Schools by
Whale Branch Principal, Mona Lise Dickson, hugs a graduate.

Beaufort Academy

Congratulations to all of the Beaufort Academy students who graduated this year. The school celebrated seniors graduating from high school, eighth graders moving up to high school, and Kindergarten students officially becoming part of the elementary school.

Beaufort Academy Senior graduates: Maya Dixon, Madelyn Sumpter, Allison Alvarez, Taniqua "Sissy" Mungin, Mary Alice Strohmeyer, Carlyle O'Herron, Cali Blocker, Emily Gaskin, Michaela Russell, Michael Webb, Thomas Roddey, Jacob Dalton, Will Dukes, Jake Ingram, Ross Walker, Cain Richards, MacMillan Griffith, Jock Joyce, Alec Melville, Daniel Oelschlager, Charles Aimar.
Beaufort Academy Senior graduates: Maya Dixon, Madelyn Sumpter, Allison Alvarez, Taniqua “Sissy” Mungin, Mary Alice Strohmeyer, Carlyle O’Herron, Cali Blocker, Emily Gaskin, Michaela Russell, Michael Webb, Thomas Roddey, Jacob Dalton, Will Dukes, Jake Ingram, Ross Walker, Cain Richards, MacMillan Griffith, Jock Joyce, Alec Melville, Daniel Oelschlager, Charles Aimar.
Beaufort Academy 8th grade graduates: Top row; Ellie Muniz, Cal Harvey, Nathaniel Keenan, William Tumlin, Heston Ingraham, Thomas Holladay, Dawson Coleman, Gray Price, John Dastous, Ashton Bell, Jospeh Maraska, Peyton Polk.Seated: Cady Wilson, Emily Ann Hiers, Amelia Huebel, Maris Staley, Emma Melville, Eliza Nix, Jenny Harry, Josephine Trask, Grace Cope, Lauren Bartlett.
Beaufort Academy 8th grade graduates: Top row; Ellie Muniz, Cal Harvey, Nathaniel Keenan, William Tumlin, Heston Ingraham, Thomas Holladay, Dawson Coleman, Gray Price, John Dastous, Ashton Bell, Jospeh Maraska, Peyton Polk.Seated: Cady Wilson, Emily Ann Hiers, Amelia Huebel, Maris Staley, Emma Melville, Eliza Nix, Jenny Harry, Josephine Trask, Grace Cope, Lauren Bartlett.
Beaufort Academy Kindergarten graduates: Ryan Glover, Henry Adams, Kalvin Rogers, Naomi Puzzuoli, Ava Richards, Kate Rhodes, Lyanne Santiago-Gierbolini, Amelia Mitchell, James Bundy, Quinn Williams.
Beaufort Academy Kindergarten graduates: Ryan Glover, Henry Adams, Kalvin Rogers, Naomi Puzzuoli, Ava Richards, Kate Rhodes, Lyanne Santiago-Gierbolini, Amelia Mitchell, James Bundy, Quinn Williams.

Whale Branch High School

Top photo: Whale Branch Principal, Mona Lise Dickson, hugs a graduate.

Whale Branch Valedictorian, Brooke Everly
Whale Branch Valedictorian, Brooke Everly
Whale Branch Salutatorian and Senior Class Vice President, London Becker. Photo by Todd Stowe.
Whale Branch Salutatorian and Senior Class Vice President, London Becker. Photo by Todd Stowe.
Whale Branch graduating seniors
Whale Branch graduating seniors

South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind

The SC School for the Deaf and the Blind was founded in 1849 and is the state’s only specialized school for students who are deaf or blind, with the main campus located in Spartanburg. For more information, visit www.scsdb.org.

Hakeem Green works on a small engine in an Applied Academics class.
Hakeem Green works on a small engine in an Applied Academics class.

Hakeem Green, of Yemassee, will soon graduate from the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind, where he was recently named a Residential Life Student of the Year.  After graduation, Hakeem plans to work in maintenance. His job training at the school included basic carpentry, basic welding, workplace safety, food service, housekeeping, groundskeeping, and small business. He was also a member of the color guard while attending the school. He is the son of Renee Wright.

Devante´ works on the school yearbook with teacher Amy Sargent.
Devante´ works on the school yearbook with teacher Amy Sargent.

Devante´ Heywood, of Hilton Head Island, also will be graduating from the SC School for the Deaf and the Blind. After graduation, he plans to take photography classes at a community college.

Other graduates

Elizabeth Reid Davis of Beaufort graduated in May from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts.
Elizabeth Reid Davis of Beaufort graduated in May from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts.
Jacy Oswald, granddaughter of Johnny (right) and Joan Brewer (left) of Lands End on St. Helena, graduated from Barnwell High School. Jacy will be be attending Clemson University in the fall.
Jacy Oswald, granddaughter of Johnny (right) and Joan Brewer (left) of Lands End on St. Helena, graduated from Barnwell High School. Jacy will be be attending Clemson University in the fall.

Morgan E. McNeal was one of nearly 600 students who graduated from St. Lawrence University during commencement ceremonies held on May 22 in Canton, N.Y. A graduate of Hilton Head High School, McNeal majored in government and economics and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Lawrence

Cadet John Driscoll Schaaf III, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Schaaf of Whitefish Bay, Wis., graduated from the U.S. Military Academy on Saturday, May 21. Schaaf graduated from Academic Magnet High School, Charleston, S.C., in 2012. While at West Point, he concentrated his studies in History: Military w/ Thesis and Defense and Strategic Studies. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army within the Armor branch and will report to Fort Hood, Texas, for his first assignment. He is the grandson of Jack and Nancy Schaaf of Lady’s Island.

Beaufort Academy hosts 47th annual Senior Tea

in School News/Schools by
SCHOOLS - BA Senior Tea 2016

By Shannon Roberts

In the smartphone era of texting and snap chatting, personal connections can get lost amongst the electronic screens. Although technology has a place in social connection, holding on to the traditions of formal social gatherings have become more important than ever.

Beaufort Academy has stayed true to a long-standing formal tradition that dates back to the school’s first graduating class in 1969. At that time, the Board of Directors’ wives began the tradition of hosting a tea for the young women of Beaufort Academy. Held prior to graduation in May, this special tea was their way of honoring the graduating young women, as well as sharing the southern tradition of gracious entertaining.

Per tradition, the senior class women form a receiving line to greet guests, which include the mothers of the senior girls, mothers of the senior boys, special guests of the seniors, which include grandmothers, aunts, sisters, etc. Also in attendance are the female board members, wives of board members, and female faculty and staff. Many former teachers, including the seniors’ lower school teachers also attend the event.

As of 1973, the junior class mothers and students, in conjunction with the Beaufort Academy Parents’ Association continue the tradition of hosting the tea for the seniors, their mothers, and special invited guests. This year’s senior tea was graciously hosted by Anne Lindsay at her beautiful home. Anne’s son William is a rising senior at BA, and Anne is a Beaufort Academy alum. She remembers her Senior Tea as a special moment of accomplishment and tradition.

“I even remember what I wore to my senior tea, who was there, and where it was!” she says with a smile.

Katherine Hefner, Beaufort Academy Parent’s Association President and also a Beaufort Academy alum spoke at the tea. The honored seniors were presented with a silver charm engraved with their graduation year. She commended the senior girls on the hard work, perseverance and diligence it takes to graduate from Beaufort Academy. Congratulations to the senior girls and best of luck in all of their future endeavors!

Top photo: 2016 Senior Tea from top to bottom: Michaela Russell, Mary Alice Strohmeyer, Maya Dixon, Emily Gaskin, Allison Alvarez, Cali Blocker, Carlyle O’Herron, Sissy Mungin, and Madelyn Sumpter.

1989 Senior Tea from left to right: Vicki Schafer, Kathryn O’Neill, Andrea Nemeth, Ashley Stone, Amy Fordham, Sydney Meeks, Cappy Strawn, Lisa Boney, Mia Fontana, Ashly Farrior, Ann Nunnally, Leslie Hand, Carrie Robinson, Malia Hensley, and Ivie Stocks.
1989 Senior Tea from left to right: Vicki Schafer, Kathryn O’Neill, Andrea Nemeth, Ashley Stone, Amy Fordham, Sydney Meeks, Cappy Strawn, Lisa Boney, Mia Fontana, Ashly Farrior, Ann Nunnally, Leslie Hand, Carrie Robinson, Malia Hensley, and Ivie Stocks.
Senior Mothers from top to bottom: Tara Walker, Sharon Laverty, Liz O'Herron, Latoya Mungin, Elizabeth Dukes, Rachel Alvarez, Tami Blocker, Kristin Dalton, JoAnn Csakany, Amy Melville, Andrea Dixon, Ginger Aimar, Heidi Richards, Emma Roddey, Wendi Russell, Irvine Gaskin, and Cathryn Griffith.
Senior Mothers from top to bottom: Tara Walker, Sharon Laverty, Liz O’Herron, Latoya Mungin, Elizabeth Dukes, Rachel Alvarez, Tami Blocker, Kristin Dalton, JoAnn Csakany, Amy Melville, Andrea Dixon, Ginger Aimar, Heidi Richards, Emma Roddey, Wendi Russell, Irvine Gaskin, and Cathryn Griffith.

Cross Schools students raise money for Hilton Head Heroes

in School News/Schools by
SCHOOLS - Cross schools

Cross Schools students collected over $1,500 in gift cards for Hilton Head Heroes as part of their ongoing community service outreach. The mission of Hilton Head Heroes is to bring families with children between the ages of 2-16 suffering from life threatening illnesses to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, for a resort vacation. The founders of Hilton Head Heroes, Lindy and Gregg Russell, graciously accepted the cards from Headmistress Shawn Young at the school. Gregg Russell, a local entertainer, treated the students to a brief concert and a presentation highlighting the mission of Hilton Head Heroes. Cross Schools is an independent Christian school in Bluffton serving 18 months through 8th grade.

Photo above from left: Shawn Young, Gregg Russell, and Lindy Russell.

College scholarship total breaks record; schools to graduate 1,243

in School News/Schools by

The Beaufort County School District’s Class of 2016 has earned a record $30.4 million in college scholarships, and its members have acceptance letters in hand from more than 100 colleges and universities across the nation.

The district’s 2016 scholarship total is the fourth consecutive increase and more than double the amount from $14.8 million five years ago. District officials said that as additional college scholarship information continues to arrive for the Class of 2016, the total will continue to increase.

“All of these scholarships are a wonderful testament to our hard-working students, and also to their families and their teachers and their school staffs,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss. “The fact that our district’s totals have more than doubled in the last five years is really exciting.”

Says Board of Education Chair Mary Cordray. “We celebrate our seniors’ accomplishments and we wish them the best, whether they’re heading off to college, entering the military or beginning their careers.”

School-by-school information includes:

  • Battery Creek High – 171 graduates and $3,867,300 in scholarships.
  • Beaufort High – 279 graduates and $8,480,650 in scholarships. The class valedictorian is Mattie Hibbs, and the salutatorian is Andrew Stoddard.
  • Bluffton High – 396 graduates and $6,945,164 in scholarships. The class valedictorian is Hannah Hundley, and the salutatorian is McCall Faciszewski.
  • Hilton Head Island High – 295 graduates and $7,317,500 in scholarships. The class valedictorian is Jason Busby, and the salutatorian is Parker Liggett.
  • Whale Branch Early College High School – 102 graduates and $3,814,101 in scholarships. The class valedictorian is Brooke Everly, and the salutatorian is London Becker-House.

SC Educator, Dr. Jackson, goes to Washington to demand vote on Supreme Court nominee

in School News/Schools by

Nine civics, history, and social studies teachers, including Dr. Valerie Jackson from Beaufort, SC, went to Washington on Wednesday, May 18. They demanded that Senators do their job and provide a hearing and vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to the Supreme Court, Chief Judge Merrick Garland. They joined a White House roundtable discussion with senior Obama administration officials to discuss the confirmation process and how educators teach their students about the Supreme Court and its role in our national government.

Dr. Valerie Jackson
Dr. Valerie Jackson

“As teachers, we impart on our young students not only academic standards, but standards of civic responsibility as well” said The South Carolina Education Association President Bernadette R. Hampton. “What lesson is being sent to our citizens and our students from Senators if they refuse to do their part and accept their responsibility in quickly and judiciously deciding on Supreme Court nominees?”

“Senate leaders are teaching the wrong lesson to our students by failing to do their job and hold a hearing and a vote on a highly qualified Supreme Court nominee, Chief Judge Merrick Garland,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “It’s our job to teach our students’ lessons about the importance of the U.S. Constitution but apparently some Senators need a lesson as well. That’s why these civics, history and social studies teachers from across the country came to Washington: they are here to tell Senate Republicans to stop playing political games, stop delaying action on the Supreme Court nomination, and stop caving to the extreme voices of the Republican party. It’s time for politicians to put their constitutional duty ahead of partisan politics.”

“The meeting is an opportunity to recommit to the critical work that remains, remembering that the outcome in Brown v. Board was never inevitable,” said White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. “It was brought about by citizens from all walks of life across the country, including educators, who every day continue the important work of those who fought so hard for equality and build lasting bridges of opportunity for young people. Brown v. Board is resounding proof that – within the framework of our judicial system, and through the power of collective action – progress is possible. The anniversary of this historic Supreme Court case also reminds us of the critical role the Court plays in our system of government and how important it is that the Court is fully functioning. That’s why senators should quickly move to consider Chief Judge Garland – an eminently qualified nominee who will be an outstanding Justice.”

A dozen civics, history and social studies teachers earlier this month sent a letter to the U.S. Senate demanding a hearing and a vote on the president’s nominee. At the same time educators launched an online petition urging the Senate to do its job.

“As educators in the classroom, we believe it is our responsibility to help students learn about — and appreciate — the role citizens play in our democracy,” said Dr. Jackson in the letter. “We teach that being a good citizen requires cooperation, mutual respect, and the ability to compromise, and we hope Senator Graham and Senator Scott understand their responsibility in furthering the selection of our Supreme Court justices.”

District students earn recognition at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

in School News/Schools by

Two Beaufort County students – one from H.E. McCracken Middle School and the other from Hilton Head Island High School – have been honored at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Az.

The annual Intel-sponsored event is the world’s premier pre-collegiate science competition for original research projects.

McCracken student Maile Paulmeier and Hilton Head Island student Victoria Hamlin became eligible to compete in Phoenix by earning top prizes at the local 2016 Sea Island Regional Science Fair. Nearly 400 Beaufort County students, all top finishers at individual school science fairs across the County, competed at the regional fair in March.

At the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which attracted about 1,700 regional champions from 75 countries to Phoenix last week, Paulmeier won fourth place in the Materials Science division for her project, “Comparative Strength Analysis of an Artificial Monofilament Passive Fiber Skeletal Muscle vs. a Linear Actuator.” Paulmeier’s fourth-place finish won her $500.

Hamlin was awarded an Academic Excellence Scholarship from West Virginia University for her project, “Design of a Sounding Rocket for Maximum Altitude.” WVU offers special scholarships to students whose research and academic aptitude align with the university’s research interests.

Local students win BJWSA Drinking Water Week contests

in School News/Schools by
SCHOOLS WATER

Each year, Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority marks National Drinking Water Week with poster and essay contests for local students. This year’s winners submitted work representative of the theme Water: How can we build a future we want? Contestants were asked to pay special attention to drinking water quality, efficiency and infrastructure. The Authority received 76 poster submissions and 27 essay and short story entries from Jasper and Beaufort counties.

Thomas Heyward Academy fourth grader Caitlyn Williams created a poster showing the importance of water conservation. Her class was treated to a pizza party at the school.

Quinlan Bruen, a sixth grader at St. Gregory the Great Catholic School, outlined her three-point plan – Save the Wave – Every Drop Counts. Bruen’s initiative seeks to reduce storm water in the local ecosystem by promoting the use of rain barrels, rain gardens and pervious pavers. Short story winner Taylore Simmons, a tenth grader at Beaufort High School, created a fictional world where clean water is scarce and two teens save their community using distillation in her composition Potable. Bruen and Simmons were awarded iPads for their efforts.

Top photo: Dottie Hofmann, BJWSA deputy general manager, presents a ribbon to Caitlyn Williams, seen with her teachers Tina McLemore and Denise Boyles.

Corey Murphy, principal Beaufort High School watches as Ed Saxon, BJWSA general manager and Dottie Hofmann, BJWSA deputy general manager present Taylore Simmons with an iPad for her winning essay.
Corey Murphy, principal Beaufort High School watches as Ed Saxon, BJWSA general manager and Dottie Hofmann, BJWSA deputy general manager present Taylore Simmons with an iPad for her winning essay.
Ed Saxon, BJWSA general manager, presents Quinlan Bruen with her new iPad.
Ed Saxon, BJWSA general manager, presents Quinlan Bruen with her new iPad.

TCL honors 46 health sciences graduates

in School News/Schools by

The Technical College of the Lowcountry honored 31 Associate Degree in Nursing graduates and 15 Physical Therapist Assistant graduates at its May 12 pinning ceremony.

“We are so proud of these graduates for their perseverance and commitment to excellence,” health sciences dean Dr. Glenn Levicki said. “TCL’s health sciences programs are rigorous but produce extremely qualified and successful graduates, giving them the confidence they need to walk proudly into the field.”

Students experience on-campus learning using high-tech simulation equipment and receive intense additional hands-on practice at clinical sites located throughout Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton and Colleton counties. Many students go right to work in the Lowcountry.

The Physical Therapist Assistant graduates are:

Joseph “Ryan” Blanton, Beaufort
Kassie Buchanan, Hampton
Princess “Tamara” Bulcock, Beaufort
Casey Cameron, Beaufort
Susan Eison, Beaufort
Kathryn Ernandez, Charleston
Greg Kluk, Beaufort
Margaret Menendez, Beaufort
Desirée Morris, Beaufort
Austin Nöe, Beaufort
Sara Pluff, Effingham
Shawna Sanders, Beaufort
Kristina Triana, Chatham
Danielle Williams, Colleton
James “Derek” Williamson, Jasper

The Associate Degree in Nursing graduates are:

Tina M. Aaron, Beaufort
Skylan E. Bodkins, Beaufort
Michelle L. Clark, Beaufort
Michael J. Coccia, Beaufort
Kimberly J. Cole, Effingham
Pamela L. Davis, Chatham
Terry “Norman” Drawdy Jr., Beaufort
Kerry R. Dulina, Bryan
Courtney A. Epperley, Jasper
Robyn M. Farris, Beaufort
Allison B. Fisk, Colleton
Jennifer L. Floyd, Effingham
Jordan A. Freeman, Beaufort
John J. Gundermann, Beaufort
Danielle B. Hadsall, Beaufort
Jessica M. Harbuck, Chatham
Chelsea L. Harrison, Beaufort
Katie L. Howell, Effingham
Kaitlynn E. Johnson, Beaufort
Rhonda F. Lamar, Beaufort
Sharita M. Lewis, Effingham
Amy Lombarski, Beaufort
Sherri A. Manning, Beaufort
Carlotta D. Pickett, Chatham
Crystal L. Powell Jasper
Eden A. Robbins, Beaufort
Casijo A. Ross, Beaufort
Caroline M. Sutherland, Hampton
Christopher A. Webber, Effingham
Candis M. Williams, Beaufort
Quinterria “Terry” Wilson, Hampton

Whale Branch seniors earn record number of high school diplomas plus two-year college degrees

in School News/Schools by

A record 15 Whale Branch Early College High School seniors recently received their two-year college Associate’s degrees today, ahead of when they will receive their South Carolina high school diplomas.

The students took advantage of a partnership with the Technical College of the Lowcountry that allows Whale Branch students to take college courses – and earn two-year associate’s degrees – while still in high school, and at no cost to themselves or their parents. The TCL degree represents a two-year head-start as the students work toward earning a Bachelor’s degree or entering the workforce.

The 15 students represent a significant improvement for the joint WBECHS-TCL initiative, which is completing its fifth year. Only one student earned both a high school and college associate’s degree in spring 2012, but that number increased to two in 2013, seven in 2014 and nine in 2015. Today 15 students will get joint degrees.

While any district student can take college-level courses at TCL, Whale Branch High’s instructional program is built around its partnership with TCL. Of this year’s graduating class of 103 seniors, 34 percent completed college classes and earned college credits – the highest percentage in the high school’s history.

Ninety-one students who live outside Whale Branch Early College High’s attendance zone – also a record number – will attend next year through the district’s expanded school choice program.

“The news from Whale Branch gets more exciting every year,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss. “It’s a win-win for students and their parents. Students can earn a four-year college degree in just two years, and their parents pay for only two years of tuition. The increasing numbers of students who choose to attend Whale Branch shows that students and parents understand that earning college credits without having to pay for them is a good deal.”

This year, 10 Whale Branch seniors have earned TCL associate’s degrees in both Arts and Science. Those 10 seniors are London Becker-House, Lacy Brooks, Jared Davis, Brooke Everly, Tayla Hill, Ernest Jenkins, Deystinee Lightner, Julian Parker, Ashley White and Kevin Young.

Four Whale Branch seniors – Nadiah Gantt, Lauryn Goodwin, Juliet House and Rana Norris – have earned Associate in Arts degrees, and Whale Branch senior DaJa Smalls has earned an Associate in Science degree.

In addition, 10 other Whale Branch seniors will graduate from high school with college certificates for completing significant college-level coursework at TCL: Bre’Ann Barrett, Bryan Brantley, Ivan Bryant, Ashley Chance, Geordy Delcid, Samuel Green, Jonae’ Riley, Shanelle Webb, Nicole Wilson and Jordan Wright.

College courses are offered on site at Whale Branch, and students have the option of taking additional courses at the TCL campus. Among some of the most popular college courses are Probability and Statistics, College Algebra, Western Civilization, English Composition I and Introduction to Computers.

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