Review Category : School News

TCL offering three new high-tech industrial programs

The Technical College of the Lowcountry will now offer programs in solar photovoltaic technology, solar thermal technology and avionics to prepare students for high-tech careers that are in demand now and in the future.

TCL industrial technology instructors Rick Eckstrom (left) and Tim Newsome (right) work together on a 3,000 watt inverter and solar panel that will be used in TCL’s new solar technology programs.

TCL industrial technology instructors Rick Eckstrom (left) and Tim Newsome (right) work together on a 3,000 watt inverter and solar panel that will be used in TCL’s new solar technology programs.

“Because these programs focus on current and emerging technologies, graduates will gain the skills and training they need to be competitive in the job market of today and tomorrow,” said Dr. Ken Flick, Dean of Industrial and Business Technologies.

The Solar Photovoltaic Technician Certificate program requires 19 credit hours and will train students to install, maintain and repair solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. These systems are the solar panels and associated parts used to produce electrical energy to power buildings. Courses will include wiring techniques, concepts of solar energy and solar PV design, sizing and safety. After completing the program, students will have substantial knowledge of solar technologies and installations.

The Solar Thermal Technician Certificate program also requires 19 credit hours. It will teach students to design, install, maintain, and repair solar thermal systems, which provide sun-powered energy for hot water in homes and buildings.

The new solar programs will be a good option to help current electricians and plumbers advance in their careers but also will include background courses for beginners.

“The courses will build on the electrical and plumbing knowledge of existing tradespeople and teach them how to design and install solar systems,” instructor Rick Eckstrom said. “For those new to the electrical trade, background courses in tools and safety, electrical system design, codes, and practical hands-on skills will be needed. For those new to the plumbing trade, background courses in tools and safety, plumbing system design, codes, and practical hands-on skills will be needed.”

Job opportunities in solar technologies are on the rise across the country. According to the National Solar Jobs Census, solar employment is expected to grow by nearly 16 percent over the next year, representing the addition of approximately 22,240 new solar workers nationally. About 45 percent of all solar establishments expect to add solar employees during this period.

Jobs are available locally, too.

“Our service area should see an increase in installer jobs as costs are falling rapidly,” Eckstrom said. “With experience in installation, the certificate holder should be able to progress to system design.”

The Electronics Technology-Avionics Pathway Associate Degree program will also begin this fall. Avionics is the study of electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft. Though TCL has already offered a few courses in avionics through a partnership with Battery Creek High School, this will be the first time avionics classes are offered onsite at TCL. Students will be required to take 64 credit hours in electrical and avionics courses such as avionics general regulation, technical troubleshooting, aircraft electricity, and aircraft and weather radar systems.

TCL has already purchased a radar training system and other equipment through funds provided by its participation in the S.C. ACCELERATE Program, which supports the expansion of advanced manufacturing and industrial technologies.

Avionics instructor Jason Moore says technology is changing, which is making current avionics professionals come back to college. “Now that technology is changing, students, including military men and women, want to come back to school and advance in the communications field,” Moore said.

The avionics program will also prepare students to receive a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license, which will put them a step ahead in landing entry-level positions at aviation companies such as Boeing, Gulfstream, Parker and XRDI. Jobs are available in the Lowcountry, including Beaufort County, Charleston, Savannah and surrounding areas.

Registration for the fall semester ends August 15, and classes start August 21. Prospective students can apply online for free at

TCL has campuses in Beaufort, Bluffton and Hampton. For more information about these programs, please contact the Industrial Technologies Division at 843-525-8241.

Read More →

Annual Back-to-School Expo events scheduled

The Beaufort County School District is teaming up with government agencies and private-sector business partners to hold a pair of “Back-to-School Expos” designed to give students and their families a day of fun, food, door prizes and valuable information about the upcoming school year.

The annual expos are scheduled at Bluffton High School on Saturday, July 26, and at Whale Branch Early College High School on Saturday, August 9.  Both events will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and free transportation will be provided from several centralized locations.

“Getting ready for a new school year requires some planning,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss, “and these events are terrific ways for families to gather a lot of practical and helpful information. “It’s also gratifying to see how much assistance we get from business partners, civic groups and faith-based groups.”

Participating business partners include Hargray, Walgreen’s, Wal Mart, Sodexo and Durham School Services.

Students and their families are encouraged to attend the events, which will feature:

• Booths operated by district schools that can supply information about school activities.

• Door prizes that will include bicycles, theme baskets as well as gift certificates to local restaurants and businesses.

• Free school supplies for students, courtesy of Wal-Mart, Walgreen’s and the district’s “Pack the Bus” campaign.

• Free health screenings for adults and children will be provided, including free HIV testing, by Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services and Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

• Sodexo Food Services will be taking early school lunch applications.

In addition, there will be a special keynote presentation designed to energize and inspire students and families as they begin the new school year.  This session will be conducted by Leading to Change, a Charlotte professional development and training company with corporate clients across the Southeast.

For families needing transportation to the August 9 expo at Whale Branch Early College High, school buses will make pickups at St. Helena Elementary School (8:10 a.m.) and Lady’s Island Middle School (8:30 a.m.). Another bus will make pickups at Beaufort Elementary School (8:15 a.m.) and Robert Smalls Middle (8:30 a.m.).

For additional information on the two expos, contact Lakinsha Swinton at 843-322-5451 or at the Beaufort County School District.

Read More →

Whale Branch Middle School student counseling program earns national recognition

Whale Branch Middle School has received national honors for its student counseling program.

The school is one of four South Carolina schools — and one of only 72 nationwide — to receive a Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) designation during recent ceremonies at the American School Counselor Association’s annual conference in Orlando.

The RAMP designation, awarded to schools that align with the criteria set in the ASCA National Model, recognizes schools that are committed to delivering “a comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program and an exemplary educational environment.”

“This year’s RAMP honorees have shown their commitment to students and the school counseling profession,” said Jill Cook, ASCA’s assistant director and RAMP coordinator. “This designation distinguishes these schools and encourages school counselors nationwide to continue to strive for success.”

In applying for the award, Whale Branch Middle School put together an advisory council consisting of two teachers, two parents, two community members and Jim Bergin, a professor and counselor education expert at Georgia Southern University.

“We looked at the needs of our students and compared them against national school counseling standards,” said Principal Matt Hunt.  “Then counselor Rebecca Burkhart developed and coordinated a comprehensive counseling program around the needs we identified in our students.  While it’s great to be recognized with this award, what we were really focused on is improving the services we provide to our kids.”

RAMP applications are reviewed by a panel of school counseling professionals who assess school counseling programs in 12 different areas of program expertise.

Read More →

TCL offering new certificate in agriscience

It’s more than green grass that unites farming, golf course management and landscaping. Agriscience is also a common bond.

Agriscience encompasses the application of science and technology to the plant and animal industries and includes a wide range of fields such as conventional and organic farming, turf management and landscaping.

TCL agriscience instructor Dr. Natavia Middleton reviews agriscience textbooks for program curriculum.

TCL agriscience instructor Dr. Natavia Middleton reviews agriscience textbooks for program curriculum.

This August, agriscience is coming to the Technical College of the Lowcountry. The new agriscience certificate program will provide students with fundamental knowledge in this rapidly growing field and prepare students to enter and advance in occupations in farming, landscaping, and golf course and pest management industries.

“We hope that people who work locally will continue their education in the agriscience program to receive higher positions in their current jobs, form their own businesses or even change their careers,” instructor Dr. Natavia Middleton said.

The program requires 29 credit hours and emphasizes three separate occupational areas: diversified agriculture production, landscape occupations and turf occupations. An internship in their chosen pathway will also be required to give students additional hands-on experience.

Area employers agree that the agriscience certificate is needed. Jerry Ashmore, Director of Workforce Development and Safety at The Greenery, serves on the TCL advisory committee that helped shape the program.

“I know the value of an education and appreciate this program as it gives students real-life experience as well as a solid foundation and enables them to grow in their careers,” Ashmore said. “We hope to offer folks careers after completion of the program.”

Agriculture is very strong in the Lowcountry as well as in the state of South Carolina. “The industry provides jobs to thousands of folks locally, from landscape contractors, golf courses to farmers,” he said.

The agriscience program also will benefit existing workers who are looking to advance in their careers. “The program will give them the opportunity to strengthen their skills, broaden their knowledge and enhance their professionalism, making them more valuable to their employer and give them the opportunity to grow in their career,” Ashmore said.

TCL has campuses in Beaufort, Bluffton and Hampton. And with S.C. Lottery Tuition Assistance, South Carolina residents pay about $850 a semester for full-time tuition, regardless of need or income. In addition, TCL offers in-state tuition to military members and their spouses who are stationed in Beaufort and to residents of Chatham and Effingham counties in Georgia.

Registration for the fall semester ends August 15, and classes start August 21. Prospective students can apply free online anytime at

For more information about the agriscience program, please contact instructor Dr. Natavia Middleton at or 843-470-5964.

Read More →

Bridges Prep finalizes purchase of main campus

As announced this past May, Bridges Preparatory School executed the final purchase of the Boys & Girls Club facility and its 1.22-acre property on 1100 Boundary Street — the charter school’s main campus — on July 1.

Bridges Prep is now officially the first area charter school to own a facility, as well as land for further school development, which gives the school several building options, and a sense of place with roots in historic downtown Beaufort.

“This is a great source of pride and stability for Bridges,” said BPS Head of School Bob Cook. “Having secured our campus in our first year is certainly an important benchmark for us as a public charter school. We will develop the property in stages, yet we have sufficient and adequate classroom space for all grades K-7 this upcoming school year, and we look forward to sharing more of those details with stakeholders as arrangements are finalized.”

For a glance at Bridges’ first year achievements, see

Read More →

Dale Westcott Nature Award presented to students

The 8th annual Dale Westcott Memorial Nature Awards were presented on Monday, June 23 at the Photography Club of Beaufort. Each year the club sponsors a nature photography contest for local high school students in memory of Dale Westcott, one of the club’s early members. Mr. Westcott was an educator and a nature photographer and the award encourages students to creatively photograph the beauty of our natural surroundings.

Barbara Westcott, his widow, and Donald Westcott, his son, are benefactors to this award, as is the Photography Club.

The winners were: First Place:  Jessica Westmark (Bluffton High) for “Gator”; Second Place: Rex Leonard (Bluffton High) for “The Pelican”; Third Place: Cassandra Knoppel (Battery Creek) for “Patterns in Nature.” Honorable Mentions were awarded to Bart Hill for “Majestic Creature” and Abigail Rasmussen  for “Porcelain” (both of Bluffton). A special award for creativity was awarded to Sara Kardohely (Battery Creek) for “Sea Shell.”

From left: Dennis Vernon (Bluffton HS teacher); Jessica Westmark; Rex Leonard; Barbara Westcott (award patron); Cassandra Knoppel; Rebecca Bass (president of Photo Club Beaufort); Sara Kardohley; and John Cullinen (Battery Creek High).

From left: Dennis Vernon (Bluffton HS teacher); Jessica Westmark; Rex Leonard; Barbara Westcott (award patron); Cassandra Knoppel; Rebecca Bass (president of Photo Club Beaufort); Sara Kardohley; and John Cullinen (Battery Creek High).

Read More →

District introduces improved volunteer screening process

The Beaufort County School District has begun conducting annual background checks on all volunteers through an enhanced screening process.  The district also has improved the protocols within its volunteer program to ensure a consistent approach at every school.

The district has contracted with Background Investigation Bureau (BIB) to conduct nationwide screenings on all volunteer applicants and to notify schools and applicants on search results. The service costs $20 per screening, and annual costs are expected to be around $40,000.

“Our goal is to create a learning environment that’s safe for our students,” said Superintendent Jeffrey Moss. “We value our volunteers and want to make sure they are the right fit for our schools.”

The district estimates that 1,500-2,000 volunteers will apply for the upcoming school year, and both new and current volunteers will be screened under the new process. Each approved volunteer will have a badge, which will be required along with a photo ID when entering a school. The badge expires after one year.

For screening purposes, a volunteer is described as having direct contact with students under limited supervision or spending short periods of time with students outside of staff view. In order to become a volunteer, applicants must complete an online form, obtain approval from BIB and the district, and participate in orientation and training.

“This new process will enhance our screening efforts, it will make procedures consistent in all schools, and it will improve communication between the schools and the district office,” said Alice Walton, Chief Administrative and Human Resources Officer. “When we all work together — teachers, staff and volunteers — our students reap the benefits.”

The district is encouraging both current and prospective volunteers to fill out the application on the district website.

Read More →

Battery Creek student receives CATE award

On Sunday, June 22, a recent graduate of Battery Creek High School was recognized as the Lowcountry Technology Champion at the Career & Technical Education Business Summit held in Greenville, SC. Wendell Roberson Jr. represented Beaufort County schools and the region along with 12 other students across South Carolina.  These students were identified as award-winning youth who exemplify high standards in academic, technical, and leadership service areas.

Wendell has been an exceptional student in the engineering program at Battery Creek High School and was nominated by his instructor, Tony Petrucci.  Katherine Bradford, Regional Career Specialist, facilitated Wendell’s award. Wendell has been accepted and plans to attend Florida’s Embry-Riddle University in the fall and major in Aerospace Engineering.

CATE Conference 2014 144

Read More →

School Honors


Yulinda Rhodes, from Beaufort, SC, earned a degree in Master’s of Public Health from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga., on Saturday, May 10, 2014. More than 700 degrees were conferred to candidates representing Armstrong’s College of Education, College of Health Professions, College of Liberal Arts and College of Science and Technology at the university’s Spring 2014 Commencement, held at the Savannah Civic Center.


Honor Roll Spring Fourth Quarter 2013-2014

Ninth Grade

• All “A” Principal’s Honor Roll: Hikaru Aburto, Arthur Lehe, Vanessa Madrid, Ajhia Parker, Clarissa Reyes, Kayla Stewart, Jonathan Witt.

• Distinguished Dolphin A/B Honor Roll: Tatiyana Barcenas-Urrutia, Sakethia Chaney, Marina Deeds, Brandy Farthing, Cassie Flanagan, Tenesha Grayson, Ashley Harbin, Jonathan Himmelsbach, Matthew Hurtt, Chardonnay Johnson, Cassandra Knoppel, Jacqueline Lopez, Denhere Mack, Gloria McCreary, Cory Mesel, Temera Millidge, Raelyn Moranelli, Victoria Moyak, Karen O’Hara, Sean Padgett, Dominique Padilla, William Payne, Myessence Ragin, Daniela Rodriguez Aguilar, Taylor Rushing, Sha’Keira Scott, Jessica Shipley, Allison Taylor, Clinton Taylor, Savanna Taylor, Jocelyn Thompson, Hannah Van Dam, Cecillia Williams, Kaysi Wilson.

• 3.0 Dolphin Honor Roll: Ebony Bates, William Bowles, Destiny Cooper, Karrin-Cheryl Faison, Daranaiza Ferguson, Jocelyn Griffin, Sylvester Jenkins, Taylor Jones, Shae-Lyn Pinet, Hannah Scott, Mesawit Sharew, Stephen Stormer, Gina Thompson.

Tenth Grade

• All “A” Principal’s Honor Roll: Christian Carter, Katherine Harris, Neelia Heath, Jordan Holkesvik, Bailee Jones, Alexis Mesel, Landon Morgan, Aja Mulligan, Edward Potter, Marielle Van Vulpen, Alexis Willis, Tyreek Wilson.

• Distinguished Dolphin A/B Honor Roll: Sakura Aburto, Ryan Ackerman, Alejandra Albores, Antwuan Blue, Zakiya Cobban, Mysia Coles, Marcus Cook, Noel Dowdle, Michael Gulledge, Jack Hillery, Jannien Santos, Jerkeithea Simmons, Taylor Turner, Kimberley Wallace, Holt Winkler.

• 3.0 Dolphin Honor Roll: Ryan Bestul, Shakeila Brown, Cierra Cohen, Emily Coniglio, Jaleah Frazier, Anna Gee, Samuel Greer, Margaret Langford, Breyanna Major, Taniqua Mungin, America Tierrablanca Miranda, Celia Williams, Nakya Witter.

Eleventh Grade

• All “A” Principal’s Honor Roll: Raven Chapman, Kierra Grayson, Susie Houge, Ian Klauck, Darelle Lesesne, Carmen Little, Tinea Morris.

• Distinguished Dolphin A/B Honor Roll: Dominique Allen, Ariel Bailey, Kassidy Block, Tyrek Byson, Jeffrey Darden, Sarah Earwood, Timothy Harris, BobbiJo Hearn, Amanda Hilton, Krystyn Kibler, Paula Madrid, Diamon McFadden, Jennifer Mossage, Alexander Nelson, Shelby Puckett, Kierra Scott, Jessica Wells, Chelsea Witter, Cameron Wood, Bianca Zaragoza.

• 3.0 Dolphin Honor Roll: Jacob Bingham, Katelynn Brock, Cali Caulder, Sarah Kardohely, Quamecha Morrison, Michael Reyes, Birucke Sharew, Xavier Topp, Daejahne Williams, Louis Wright.

Twelfth Grade

• All “A” Principal’s Honor Roll: Amanda Lynn Frasier & Adam Joshua Yallum.

• Distinguished Dolphin A/B Honor Roll: Julia Clarrissa Aguillon, Erik Jacob Barbosa, Michael Andrew Carrier, Christopher Alan Daigle, Kaniecia Viola Dilbert, Jasmine Natay Drake, Deidre Lynn Gallant, Jason Randolph Green, Kristen Ann Haberkorn, William Sidney Howell, Dulce Violeta Huerta, Clifford Amos Johnson, Illyona Rhianna Johnstone, Shawn Dustin Lee, Deja Shinay Moultrie,
Eriq Tyshaun Moultrie, Aujena Laquan Mungin, Gabriela Portela, Wendell Van Roberson, Rebekkah Lee Scott, Breyanna Chante Sheppard, Brayden Matthew Smith, Thomas James Smith, Vanessa Elizabeth Stanley, Caroline Renee` Vido, Jessie Lee Walker, Raven Amanda Wills.

• 3.0 Dolphin Honor Roll: Kayla Alexis Brown, Tyion Dacarrius Brunson, Caleb Seth Campbell, Craig Benjamin Capano, Joseph Henry Cuevas-Blandon, Matalyn Nichole Dearsman, Toniqua Mone’ Gantt, Alleanora Danielle Garcia, Dantzler Read Lewin, Johnathan Zachariah Mahan, Miguel Ramos Mejia, Diandre Hopeton Palmer, Brittany Alyssa Rogers, April Nichelle Stibitz, Kimberly Joy Vigil, Johnathan Lamont Wright.


• Lauren Leigh Netzel of Beaufort earned a Master of Science degree in Counseling from the University of Memphis during May 10 commencement ceremonies.


•  U.S. Navy Ensign Connor T. Murphy, son of Peter and Kathleen Murphy graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD on May 23, and was commissioned as an Officer in the U.S. Navy.   Murphy successfully completed four years of intensive academic, physical, and professional training, resulting in a Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in History. As a graduate of the Naval Academy, Ensign Murphy  completed a four-year, total immersion program where a strong, balanced academic program, focused on the educational needs of the Navy and Marine Corps is superimposed on a strict, professional military training environment emphasizing the development of leadership skills. Murphy will proceed to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where he will begin service aboard the USS Hopper. Ensign Murphy is a 2010 graduate of Beaufort High School and a 2006 graduate of St. Peter’s Catholic School.


• The following local students were named to the Spring 2014 Dean’s List at Wake Forest University.

• Charlotte Bellomy of Beaufort

• Chelsea Bellomy of Beaufort

• Andrew Munger of Beaufort.

Read More →

Bridges Prep makes Bob Cook permanent Head of School

With skills both as an educational leader and for leading Bridges Preparatory School into the future, Bob Cook this week became the downtown Beaufort state charter school’s permanent Head of School.

Cook earned a Master’s degree in secondary education from The Citadel and a Bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of Education at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Bob Cook

Bob Cook

“Bob demonstrated to us in his six months as Interim Head of School that he is a strong educator, a stabilizing leader and a visionary who understands what it will take to lead Bridges Prep to the next step as we grow into our middle school and high school curriculum,” said John Payne, chairman of the Bridges Preparatory Board of Directors.

Bridges Preparatory School, chartered by the state in mid-2012, opened at near capacity to some 360 K-6 students last August. The Bridges Board of Directors recently entered a contract to buy the Boys & Girls Club of Beaufort facility at 1100 Boundary Street as the school’s permanent home.

Bridges has more than 140 students on its waiting list for enrollment for the upcoming school year, when it adds a seventh grade.

Cook leads Kay Keeler, Bridges’ Assistant Head of School, and the school’s exceptional faculty and staff.

“We have a great leadership team. Bob Cook is an experienced middle and high school principal and Kay Keeler is an experienced elementary school principal. It’s especially important as Bridges Prep begins adding middle and high school grades, starting with seventh grade when classes resume in August,” Payne said.

Preparations already are under way for the next school year, Cook said.

“We celebrated the end of our first exciting year and the tremendous strides we made,” Cook said. “Now we turn our attention to preparing for our bigger and better second year, including adding seventh grade and beginning our plans for renovating our facility.”

As a state charter school, Bridges Prep is open to all students in South Carolina and students are enrolled from Beaufort, Port Royal, Burton, St. Helena Island, Okatie, Bluffton, and Jasper and Hampton counties.

Read More →