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School briefs for May 25th-31st

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Exchange students make presentations

Anderson, from Denmark, is shown with Rotary Club of Beaufort President Willie Mack Stansell. Photo provided.
Anderson, from Denmark, is shown with Rotary Club of Beaufort President Willie Mack Stansell. Photo provided.
Struhárová, from the Czech Republic, is shown with Stansell. Photo provided.
Struhárová, from the Czech Republic, is shown with Stansell. Photo provided.

One of the major programs that Rotary Clubs provide is sponsoring area youth exchange programs. This year, two exchange students attended Beaufort-area high schools: Emma Anderson, of Denmark, who attended Beaufort High School, and Karolina Struhárová, of the Czech Republic, who attended Beaufort Academy. Recently, both made presentations to the Rotary Club of Beaufort, summarizing their year in the United States. 

Class of ’87 to hold reunion

Organizers are asking members of the Beaufort High Class of 1987 to save the date for its 30th reunion.

The reunion will take place on Sept. 29-30. Tickets are $75 per person. Further details will be provided as they are announced.

For more information, email Eaglesfrom1987@gmail.com.

Beaufort students notch achievements

At The Citadel Awards Convocation on May 4, more than 50 awards were presented to cadets in recognition of their outstanding accomplishments. 

Carli Cline, of Beaufort, was awarded The Female Intramural Athlete of the Year this year. Each year the battalion and company athletic officers nominate and select cadets who have shown outstanding performance in intramural competition demonstrating athleticism, sportsmanship and competitive spirit.

In other news, Janelle Vernoy, of Beaufort, has been named to Dean’s List at Bob Jones University.

Principals selected for BCH, Mossy Oaks

The Beaufort County Board of Education recently approved the selections of veteran educators to lead two schools whose principals are retiring.

Whale Branch Middle School Principal Chad Cox will take the top post at Battery Creek High when Ed Burnes retires in June.  

Michelle Sackman, assistant principal for the past five years at Whale Branch Elementary School, will take over at Mossy Oaks Elementary when Principal Donald Gruel retires in June.

Cox began his education career as a Battery Creek High social studies teacher in 2003 and also served as an assistant principal there from 2008-2010.  Prior to becoming principal at Whale Branch Middle in 2015, he held assistant principal positions at Whale Branch Early College High and Robert Smalls International Academy.

Sackman began her career in 2000 and held teaching positions at Broad River Elementary and Coosa Elementary, where she was named as one of five finalists for Beaufort County School District Teacher of the Year in 2005. She also served as a literacy coach at Coosa and at Beaufort Elementary prior to being named assistant principal at Whale Branch Elementary.

A search will now begin to select a new principal at Whale Branch Middle School.

District names 2017 support person of year

A Bluffton High School bilingual liaison was recently named as the Beaufort County School District’s 2017 “Support Person of the Year.”  

The selection of Alexa Mencias was announced at a breakfast recognizing schools’ individual honorees.

Mencias joined the Beaufort County School District 10 years ago after working in the private sector. At Bluffton High, she serves as a liaison between the school and its Hispanic students and families, dealing with a wide range of student and family issues.

Finalists for the Sup port Personnel of the Year included:

• Battery Creek High – Christine Whiteleather, job coach

• Beaufort Elementary – Cathy Power, nurse

• Beaufort High – Julie Gadley, bookkeeper

• Beaufort Middle – Sheral Spencer, media assistant

• Broad River Elementary – Denise Drake, nurse

• Coosa Elementary – Sandra Gardener, administrative associate

• Islands Academy – Andrea Murray, social worker

• Lady’s Island Elementary – Jana Sanders, office manager and bookkeeper

• Lady’s Island Middle – Kathleen Bingham, social worker

• Mossy Oaks Elementary – Webster Ogle, behavior management specialist

• Port Royal Elementary – Elizabeth Bornscheuer, teacher assistant

• River Ridge Academy – Deborah Wilkerson, media assistant

• Robert Smalls International Academy – Toni Burnsed, system support specialist

• Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary – Daryl Harris, behavior management specialist

• St. Helena Elementary – Denise Simmons, behavior management specialist

• Whale Branch Elementary/Davis – Cheryl Morris, media assistant

• Whale Branch Early College High – Virginia Henneberry, office manager

• Whale Branch Middle – Marion Smalls, behavior interventionist

• District Office – Catherine Waskiewicz, technology program manager

• Adult Education – Dorothy Gregory, administrative associate

• Beaufort-Jasper ACE – Maribel Bueso-Welch, bilingual liaison

Vireo Labs creates C’reer Scholarship Fund

Vireo Labs, a career-focused education tech company in Beaufort, has announced two $1,000 scholarships with iFoster to help foster youth around the nation research and finance their postsecondary education.

The scholarships are available to any foster youth enrolled in their senior year of high school in the United States. 

The C’reer iFoster Scholarship will be administered by iFoster and will be awarded to a college-bound student based on an essay submission. These scholarships can be applied to tuition, room and board or other college-related fees or for the purchase of education technology.

The scholarship is named after Vireo Labs’ recently released free mobile app – C’reer – that matches students with careers and connects them with college representatives via chat. Scholarship applicants will be asked to write an essay about the career field suggested by the C’reer app.

C’reer is available for free in the App Store for iOS devices or in Google Play for Android devices.

Each scholarship awarded will be a maximum of $1,000. The application deadline is Sept. 30. Recipients will be notified by Oct. 27.

Full requirements and the application for the C’reer iFoster Scholarship will be announced by iFoster within the next few weeks.

Visit www.vireolabs.co.

School briefs for May 18th-24th

in School News/Schools by
Ten physical therapy assistant graduates were honored at TCL’s May 11 graduation ceremony. Photo provided.
Ten physical therapy assistant graduates were honored at TCL’s May 11 graduation ceremony. Photo provided.
Thirty-four students recently earned their Associate’s Degrees in Nursing from TCL. Photo provided.
Thirty-four students recently earned their Associate’s Degrees in Nursing from TCL. Photo provided.

TCL holds May 11 pinning ceremony

The Technical College of the Lowcountry honored 34 Associate Degree in Nursing graduates and 10 Physical Therapist Assistant Associate Degree graduates at its May 11 pinning ceremony.

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 Anastacia Hodgins, Jacqueline Laxton, Jessica Trani, Kyle Keister, Laura Levitt and Tara Northway, all of Beaufort; Ashley Thomas, of Colleton; Catherine Melnick, of Jasper; Kandyce Ranew, of Hampton; and Lauren “Kendall” Starks, of Charleston.

The Associate Degree in Nursing graduates are Kristin Amarino, Karin Arlett, Amy Brodeen, April Buquet, Lindsey Chaplin, Allison Conrad, Jessica Cryer, Tierra Ferrell, Heather Fulkert, Kayla Giffin, Kelly Hughes, Kathryn Lalonde, Jennifer Leggette, Erin Mikulec, Kseniya Ortino, Kyle Phillips, Angela Runyan, Robert Skinner, Thomasina Smalls, Kirsten Smith, Shelby Welch and Kristina Winland, all of Beaufort; Halle Boni, Holly Childers, Tiffany Drake Jasper, Priscilla Keiffer, Kaitlyn McTaggart, Shannon Miller, April Simmons-Smith and Emily Webster, all of Jasper County; Kenyonna Green and Jessica Long, both of Chatham County, Ga.; Rebecca Harrison, of Colleton County;  and Bethany Long, of Effingham County, Ga.

Two new programs airing on district show

Two district initiatives – one focusing on student artists and the other focusing on a special group of student athletes – will highlight the next “Our Schools” television program, which began airing May 12 on the County Channel.

“River of Words” is an annual collection of art and poetry by Beaufort County School District students, and for the first time, this year’s book will be sold to the public online via Amazon and Barnes and Noble.”  

Appearing with Superintendent Jeff Moss to explore “River of Words” will be Project Coordinator Heather Brabham, Robert Smalls International Academy art teacher Dara Ramey and Julianna Vega, a fifth-grader at Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts.

The school district has dramatically expanded its partnership with Special Olympics, which coordinates athletic competitions involving student athletes with disabilities.  

Guests appearing with Moss during that segment of the new “Our Schools” will be Gregory McCord, the district’s Chief Auxiliary Services Officer; Herbert Glaze, dean of students at Beaufort High School; and Kathy Cramer, area co-director for Special Olympics.

“Our Schools” is a partnership between the school district and the County Channel.

The new edition of “Our Schools” will air four times weekly: at 8:30 p.m. Mondays, 11:30 a.m. Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. Fridays and 11:30 a.m. Saturdays.  

The broadcast will air on local cable networks: Comcast’s Channel 2, Hargray’s channels 9 and 113, and Spectrum Channel 63.  

The show also will air at those times on the County Channel’s website at www.bcgov.net/departments/Community-Services/county-channel/index.php.

In addition, the show will be archived and can be watched any time at the same link.

Seniors share experiences on new TV show

Twenty-four seniors preparing to graduate from Beaufort County School District high schools will discuss their experiences and share their opinions during a one-hour television program on the County Channel.

The seniors, selected by their high schools, will answer questions posed by Superintendent Jeff Moss.  

Students include Jonathan Buck, Ahjia Parker, Clarissa Reyes and Clinton Taylor, of Battery Creek High; Christina Adore, John Cherry, Omar Cummings and Mary Claire Sumner, of Beaufort High; and Mayra Garcia, Jazmyn Lovett, Carmin Miller and Eric Saunders of Whale Branch Early College High.

Moss will ask the seniors to share their experiences and opinions, to suggest ways to improve the district’s schools and also to give advice to younger students. 

The show will air on local cable networks: Comcast’s Channel 2, Hargray’s channels 9 and 113, and Spectrum Channel 63.  During the rest of May, the show will air on those channels at 5:30 p.m. Sundays, 8 p.m. Mondays and 11 a.m. Thursdays.

Riverview lottery set for May 30

Riverview Charter School will hold its lottery drawing for 2017-18 enrollment at 5 p.m. in the gym at the school at 81 Savannah Highway in Beaufort.

The lottery is a public meeting and parents are encouraged, but not required, to attend.  

Local college students celebrate graduation 

Following are some updates on local college students:

• James Gray, of Beaufort, has graduated from The Citadel and is among 24 men and women who are now America’s newest military officers serving in the U.S. Air Force.

• Coastal Carolina University held commencement ceremonies for an estimated 1,145 candidates for graduation May 5-6 at the HTC Student Recreation and Convocation Center on campus.

Graduates include James Cato, Abraham Coakley and Olivia Walker, all of Beaufort.

Battery Creek to get aerospace program

Six South Carolina high school students, including those at Battery Creek High School in Beaufort, will have access to aerospace engineering classes beginning in fall.

The aerospace curriculum was formally recommended to the South Carolina Department of Education by SC Aerospace – an industry cluster supported by the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness and the South Carolina Department of Commerce.  

“Talent development is a top priority for our industry,” said James Stephens, chairman of the SC Aerospace Education Working Group and executive director of the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission.  

“This curriculum is a great fit for South Carolina’s aerospace industry in particular because it is multi-disciplinary.  Students learn aerospace engineering principles and written and oral communication skills through presenting their projects to industry representatives.”

The courses are designed to appeal to students who are curious about the design and flight of aircraft and spacecraft vehicles.  

The curriculum consists of four courses: fundamentals of aerospace technology, advanced aerospace technology, aeronautics engineering application and astronautics engineering applications.  

Each school implementing the aerospace curriculum this fall will receive $50,000 from the SC Department of Education to help cover the startup costs involved with the course offerings.

State approves Polaris Tech Charter 

Polaris Tech Charter School is on its way to reality after earning approval from the State Public Charter School District Board during a May 11 hearing in Columbia.

Polaris Tech is a college- and career-focused middle/high school with a unique individualized learning model. Students will have the opportunity to study specific career paths as well as experience the workplace. The school’s ultimate goal is to prepare all students for college, career, and life.  

“This is an amazing step toward helping the young people of Jasper County find new futures,” said retired Gen. Lloyd “Fig” Newton, a member of the Polaris Steering Committee and native son of Jasper County. 

Polaris Tech is scheduled to open in summer 2018 for 160 middle and high school students. Organizers continue to examine facility options across Jasper County and decisions are expected soon.

School briefs for May 4th-10th

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Photo above: From left are Pamela Reed, student Payton Blackwell, teacher Sara DeLoach (“Favorite Teacher”) and Ann Paige. Photo provided.

Bridges Prep educator named ‘Favorite Teacher’ 

Bridges Prep’s Sara DeLoach won $100 recently for being selected as the “Favorite Teacher” by Winning Orthodontic Smiles of Beaufort and Bluffton. 

DeLoach, a second-grade teacher, received a $100 gift card to Staples. 

It was the second time a Bridges Prep teacher has received the award in the past three months. Katherine Tapia won in February.   

One of DeLoach’s former students, Payton Blackwell, nominated her teacher for the monthly award. She signed up her teacher when visiting the orthodontic office of Drs. Skeet Burris, Travis Fiegle and Katie Plunkett. 

“It’s a sweet gesture by the kids to nominate their teacher as the ‘Teacher of the Month,’ and it means the world to the teachers,” Bridges Head of School Nick Ithomitis said. “Very few teachers do it for the money. Most do it because they have a gift of teaching and finding ways to connect with young people, and an award like this is a great pat on the back.” 

Visit www.bridgesprep.org or call 843-982-7737.  

Beaufort High students host yard sale, car wash

From left are HOSA medal winners Luke Heneise, Nishta Ramasamy, Sarah McMullen, Marah Aulabaugh and Tiffany Camputaro. Not pictured is Olivia Vyge.
From left are HOSA medal winners Luke Heneise, Nishta Ramasamy, Sarah McMullen, Marah Aulabaugh and Tiffany Camputaro. Not pictured is Olivia Vyge.

The Beaufort High School Chapter of the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) will host a yard sale and car wash from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 6, in the vacant lot beside the Huddle House on Lady’s Island (92 Sea Island Drive).  

The purpose of this event is to raise money for travel expenses for BHS HOSA State Competition winners to travel to compete at the International HOSA conference this summer in Orlando.

State conference winners include: Gold Medal, Luke Heneise, Pharmacology; Gold Medal, Olivia Vyge, Extemporaneous Writing; Silver Medal, Nishta Ramasamy, Extemporaneous Writing; Silver Medal Team, Marah Aulabaugh and Sarah McMullen, Forensic Science; and Bronze Medal, Tiffany Camputaro, Medical Spelling. 

HOSA is an organization for students interested in pursuing a career in health care.  It currently has over 200,000 members throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Public relations group recognizes educators

Several Beaufort County School district educators have earned statewide recognition for their communications efforts from the South Carolina chapter of the National School Public Relations Association.

North of the Broad, the district’s SC/NSPRA award-winning school for 2017 includes Broad River Elementary:  School brochure (Electronics and Publications category).

“Communicating with parents and community members is key to parent and community involvement in schools,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss.

The awards were presented recently at an SC/NSPRA luncheon in Columbia.  

SC/NSPRA is a statewide organization of school district communications professionals who advocate for public education and model and share effective communications practices.  

Out-of-state public relations and communications professionals judged this year’s entries.

Local student spends semester abroad

Miami University student Carson Myers spent the winter 2017 semester in Oman and United Arab Emirates as part of a study abroad group.

Myers, from Beaufort, is earning a Bachelor of Arts in Diplomacy and Global Politics.

Public forum on budget to be held May 4

A public forum will be held from 6-7 p.m. Thursday, May 4, at the Battery Creek High School’s media center.

The forum is intended to help community members to learn more about the school district budget being developed by the Beaufort County board of education for the 2017-18 school year.

Participants at the forum will receive a presentation on the budget and will also have a chance to make comments to board members and ask questions.

“Developing the school district’s annual budget is a key responsibility for the board, and the process of developing that budget needs to be as open and transparent as possible,” said board Chair Patricia Felton-Montgomery. “We hope parents and community members will learn more about the budget and share their thoughts with us.”

The board hopes to officially certify the district’s 2017-18 budget at its Tuesday, May 16, meeting.  

Beaufort County Council’s current timeline calls for a third and final reading of the district’s budget on Monday, June 12.

Board members surprise district staff, teachers

Some very special Beaufort County School District teachers and support staff were treated with gift baskets recently as board of education members made surprise visits to their schools to announce the 2017-2018 Teachers of the Year and Support Staff of the Year.

School Teachers of the Year are selected by their peers according to criteria established by the schools, the South Carolina Department of Education and the district’s Teacher Forum.  

Next fall, the teachers honored will be eligible for District Teacher of the Year honors.

Support staff also are selected by school staff and can include social workers, school nurses, bookkeepers, office managers, teacher assistants, school secretaries and technology and data specialists.  

The 2017-2018 North of the Broad Beaufort County Teachers of the Year and Support Staff of the Year are Battery Creek teacher Sarah Hayes, support staff, Christine Whiteleather; Beaufort Elementary teacher Meredith Rhoden, support staff, Cathy Power; Beaufort High teacher Nancy Ungvarsky, support staff, Julie Gadley; Beaufort Middle teacher Dayna Dehlinger, support staff Sheral Spencer; Broad River teacher Phelecia Simmons, support staff, Denise Drake; Coosa Elementary teacher Lauren Plain, support staff, Sandra Gardener; Shanklin Elementary teacher Daniel McKeown, support staff, Daryl Harris; Lady’s Island Elementary teacher Cheryl Horton, support staff, Jana Sanders; Islands Academy teacher Patricia Hillis, support staff, Andrea Murray; Lady’s Island Middle teacher Andrew Diamond, support staff, Kathleen Bingham; River Ridge Academy teacher Amie Lankowski, support staff, Deborah Wilkerson; Robert Smalls International Academy teacher Leanna O’Quinn, support staff, Toni Burnsed; St. Helena Elementary teacher Merriam Browne, support staff, Denise Simmons; Whale Branch Early College High teacher Elizabeth Thomas, support staff, Virginia Henneberry; Whale Branch Elementary teacher Nicole Townsend, support staff, Cheryl Morris; Whale Branch Middle teacher Denise Huntsman, support staff, Marion Smalls; and Port Royal Elementary teacher Melinda Joiner, support staff, Elizabeth Bornscheuer.

New administrator named at First Books

Diane Peeples has been named the new administrator at First Books of Beaufort effective Thursday, June 1.

First Books of Beaufort holds storytimes throughout Beaufort County and gives 800 books to at risk 4-year-olds and their classrooms each month. Peeples has been a volunteer reader for two years, and is a lifelong resident of the Beaufort area. She is a licensed insurance agent who has worked at Turbeville Insurance Agency as an accounts manager for the past 10 years. 

First Book’s area leaders are: Peggy Cass Scott, Beaufort; Laurie Haddock, Bluffton; and Lara Phillips, Hilton Head. 

Major sponsors are Coastal Community Foundation’s Beaufort Fund and Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.  

See www.firstbooksofbeaufort.com.

School briefs for April 27th-May 3rd

in School News/Schools by

Wheelan to deliver keynote at graduation

Dr. Belle S. Wheelan
Dr. Belle S. Wheelan

Dr. Belle S. Wheelan, the first woman and first African-American president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, will deliver the keynote address at its 2017 commencement exercises at 6 p.m. Friday, April 28, on the Hilton Head Gateway Campus.  

Wheelan’s career in education spans more than 40 years and includes roles as college president and secretary of education in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She was appointed by Virginia’s newly elected governor in 2001 to be secretary of education in his administration. 

She spent three and a half years in the position, handling a variety of education-related issues, before being named to lead the regional organization that accredits nearly 800 educational organizations throughout the South in 2005. She holds that post today.

In 2001, Wheelan was named one of Washington Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Washington D.C. In 2002, she received the Woman of Distinction Award presented by the American Association of University Women. In 2015, she earned the Dr. John Hope Franklin Award from Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine.  

USCB will graduate 398 members of the Class of 2017. This is the largest graduating class in USCB’s history. Visit www.uscb.edu/commencement. 

District finance staff earns national awards

Finance staffers from the Beaufort County School District have earned a pair of national awards for excellence from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.

The first award, the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, recognized the school district’s 2016 annual financial report.  

It was the 27th consecutive year that the school district had earned the national recognition. 

GFOA said the award honors financial reports that demonstrate a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” and that clearly communicate a school district’s financial story and motivate citizens to read the annual report.  It said the award represents “the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.”

The second recognition, the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, honors government budgets that succeed simultaneously as policy documents, financial plans, operations guides and communications devices.  Budget documents must be rated “proficient” in all four of those categories – along with the 14 criteria in each one – to receive the award.

Superintendent Jeff Moss credited members of the finance staff for their “superlative efforts,” including Chief Finance and Operations Officer Tonya Crosby; Director of Internal Controls Reggie Murphy; Director of Finance Lori Mock; and Budget Analyst Louis Ackerman.  Moss also congratulated Phyllis White, who retired in December as the district’s chief finance and operations officer.

The school district’s bond ratings are Aa1 with Moody’s Investors Service and AA with Standard and Poor’s.   

BHS recognized as model program

The American School Counselor Association has announced that Beaufort High School is now a recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) school. 

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

“It has been a comprehensive effort that required a high level of participation on the part of every counselor in our department,” said Beaufort High counselor, Michelle Dixon. “Our work is purposeful and important. We truly believe our students are different because of what we do. It has been an extraordinary journey for our department.” 

Since the RAMP program’s inception, more than 700 schools have earned the designation. 

Beaufort High will be honored at a recognition ceremony at ASCA’s annual conference in Colorado in July.

Contract negations underway for Whale Branch gym

The Beaufort County board of education recently voted to proceed with contract negotiations with an architectural firm to design a competition gymnasium and performing arts center for Whale Branch Early College High School.

McMillan, Pazdan Smith Architecture – with offices in Greenville, Spartanburg, Charleston, Asheville, Charlotte and Atlanta – emerged as the top choice at the end of a multilayered selection process.  The firm has designed school facilities for 29 South Carolina districts, and school design comprises 65 percent of its work.

McMillan Pazdan Smith has been named among the nation’s top firms by Architect Magazine and has earned recognitions from the Council of Education Facility Planners in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011-2015.

The Beaufort County board of education voted Feb. 7 to build the competition gymnasium at Whale Branch Early College High and voted March 21 to build the school a performing arts center.  

Whale Branch is currently the only district high school that does not have a performing arts-style auditorium for student performances and classes, and is also the only district high school that doesn’t have a larger competition gym.  

Parents and community supporters had urged the district to build both a performing arts center and a competition gymnasium since the high school opened in 2010.

Local students are recognized

Shandy Simpson, of Beaufort, has been named to the Provost’s List at Troy University for Term 3 of the 2016/2017 academic year.

The Provost’s List honors full-time undergraduate students who are registered for at least 12 semester hours and who have a grade point average of at least 3.65.

At The Citadel, two local students were honored at the 2017 Joint ROTC Awards. They are Nicolas Cucinotta, of Port Royal; and Adam Hannah, of Beaufort.

School briefs for April 13th-19th

in School News/Schools by

New head of school at Beaufort Academy

Dr. Daniel Durbin
Dr. Daniel Durbin

Dr. Daniel Durbin has been appointed the next Head of School for Beaufort Academy.  

This appointment concludes an extensive national and international search process launched by a qualified Head of School Search Committee to identify a successor for outgoing Headmaster Stephen Schools.   

The search included over 70 applicants and was narrowed to three contenders in three states.   

Durbin, presently the director of Youth and Family Ministries at Sea Island Presbyterian Church, will begin his tenure at Beaufort Academy on Monday, April 17.  

He will work in conjunction with outgoing headmaster for the remainder of the school year. 

According to Chilton Grace Simmons, president of the board of trustees of Beaufort Academy, “Since we began the search and asked for input from faculty, staff, parents and the community, Dr. Durbin’s name has continuously been brought to us by people both inside and outside of BA.  Many of those voices were those of teachers.    

“He has an extremely dynamic and comprehensive knowledge of education, and is beloved by teachers and students alike. Importantly, he also knows the Beaufort community well, including being active in Sea Island Rotary, Sea Island Presbyterian Church, and American Legion. BA is thrilled to embark upon its future under Dr. Durbin’s proven leadership and passion for education.”

Local sorority attends leadership event

Members of Mu Pi Zeta with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority’s International president, from left, are Kimberly Bush, event photographer; Tina Johnson, executive board chair; Dr. Mary Breaux Wright, international president; Shai Tyson, escort to president; Ruth Naomi James and assistant secretary. Photo provided.
Members of Mu Pi Zeta with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority’s International president, from left, are Kimberly Bush, event photographer; Tina Johnson, executive board chair; Dr. Mary Breaux Wright, international president; Shai Tyson, escort to president; Ruth Naomi James and assistant secretary. Photo provided.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority held its South Carolina Leadership Conference in Myrtle Beach March 31 and April 1.  

Mu Pi Zeta, Beaufort County graduate chapter, Tau Upsilon, undergraduates at University of South Carolina Beaufort and Zeta Amicae Auxiliary of Beaufort were recognized at the conference in the presence of the sorority’s international president, Dr. Mary Breaux Wright.  

Mu Pi Zeta was awarded Lowcountry 2 Model Chapter of the Year for 2017. This is the second consecutive win for the graduate chapter.  

Chaqueria Vereen, a junior at USCB and member of Tau Upsilon, was one of the Top 10 honorees for highest grade point average of all undergraduate members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority in the state.  

First place for March of Dimes donations and Z-HOPE (Zetas Helping Other People Excel) was awarded to Zeta Amicae Auxiliary of Beaufort.

In addition to chapter recognition, two members were installed as state officers. The local president, Tina Johnson, is the executive board chair, and the undergraduate advisor, Ruth Naomi James, is the assistant secretary.  

Marlena Smalls, honorary member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, provided musical entertainment for the opening ceremony.

Simultaneously in Columbia, Briona Millidge, a youth participant for the sorority, received the Richard W. Riley Award on April 1 from South Carolina Education Association. Bernadette Hampton, SCEA president and member of Mu Pi Zeta, presented the award at SCEA’s awards luncheon.

A scholarship fundraiser will be held 7 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at the USCB Center for Performing Arts featuring classical musicians Time for 2, Kearston and Kendall Gonzales. Proceeds will benefit graduating seniors.  

The cost is $30 per adult and $15 per youth.

Art, science merge in ‘River of Words’

The complex ecology and peaceful beauty of Port Royal Sound serves as the inspiration for a new collection of art and poetry by Beaufort County School District students.

“River of Words:  Musings on Port Royal Sound through Poetry and Art 2017,” was unveiled at a reception recently at the Port Royal Maritime Center. The annual student publication is the culmination of an interdisciplinary learning experience about the sound’s watersheds.

“We live in an extraordinary landscape,” said Heather Brabham, the project’s coordinator. “ ‘River of Words’ lets teachers and students become an active part of that environment, learn from it and be inspired by it. The creativity of our students is really amazing.”

Brabham said that first- through 12th-grade students from 17 district schools accepted the “River of Words” challenge last fall to extend learning beyond their classroom walls and into neighboring marshes, beaches and maritime forests.  

Science, English language arts, math, gifted and talented and visual arts teachers joined forces to design interdisciplinary units of study that examined local watersheds from multiple perspectives.

Students and teachers equipped with binoculars, cameras and sketchbooks experienced first-hand the intricate ecology of Port Royal Sound.  

They tested water quality, studied stormwater run-off and discussed the effects of pollution and population growth. They kayaked in area rivers, embarked on virtual field trips, toured the Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center and explored the Lowcountry’s natural history and cultural heritage at Coastal Discovery Museum. 

Brabham said that while students observed, measured, tested, researched and documented, they also heightened their senses and attuned them to the sights, sounds and smells of the natural world. Following their scientific discoveries, students were charged to transform their new knowledge into poems and art.  “River of Words” was the result.

Now in its seventh year, “River of Words” enables students to use humor and haiku, free verse, figurative language, vivid vocabularies and heartfelt advocacy along with paint, pencil and digital images to demonstrate their understanding of Port Royal Sound and to make their voices heard.

This year’s cover art, a painting of a pelican, was created by fifth-grader Julianna Vega from Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts.

Participating schools this year were: Battery Creek High, Beaufort Middle, Bluffton Middle, Hilton Head Island Elementary, Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts, H.E. McCracken Middle, Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary, Mossy Oaks Elementary, May River High, Okatie Elementary, Pritchardville Elementary, Red Cedar Elementary, Riverview Charter, River Ridge Academy, Robert Smalls International Academy, Michael C. Riley Elementary and Whale Branch Middle. 

“River of Words” can be purchased online for $15 by visiting amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com and typing “River of Words” into the search engine.

Students attend scholarship event

As the end of another school year is fast approaching so do the deadlines for graduating seniors to apply for scholarships and grants. 

In Beaufort, the Greek letter organizations and several stakeholder groups collaborated to form the LowCountry Scholarship Group. 

The scholarship chairs of each granting organizations and the groups that reach out/mentor youth made up the organization.

The mission of the LowCountry Scholarship Group was to come together to develop a scholarship program that reaches out to the community, making eligible students aware of the opportunities that abound in Beaufort county that few are taking advantage of.

Each of the scholarship granting organizations was asked to submit a digital version of their scholarship application packages. When it was all said and done, over 45 scholarship applications and over 75 links to other educational opportunities were given to each student on a personal thumb drive. Also each student was given a folder with vital financial aid information.

The scholarship workshop was held on March 4 at Whale Branch Early College High School. There was a registration of over 58 students and parents representing 22 high schools, four counties and Georgia. 

Day of Learning coming to TCL

The Technical College of the Lowcountry is hosting A Day of Learning and Conversation from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, April 21, at its Beaufort campus. 

Faculty, staff and community members will lead a series of conversations in the humanities such as in art, history, culture and literature. 

The program is free and includes three hour-long sessions followed by lunch with TCL faculty, community partners and leadership. Reservations are required and space is limited. 

To register, visit www.tcl.edu/conversation or contact Jessica Bridges, assistant vice president for Institutional Advancement, at 843 525-8294 or jbridges@tcl.edu.

Public invited to college fair at TCL

The Technical College of the Lowcountry will host a college fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, April 13, in the MacLean Hall Student Center at the Beaufort Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

 TCL and four-year colleges and universities from around the state and beyond will provide enrollment and transfer information. 

For more information, contact Melanie Gallion, TCL Career and Transfer Services manager, at 843-525-8224 or mgallion@tcl.edu.

Holy Trinity appoints development team

in School News/Schools by

Hank Gulbrandsen has been appointed director of development and Karey Green has been named event director/development representative at Holy Trinity Classical Christian School. 

They will work together to support Holy Trinity’s faith-based tuition policy, according to a release from the school. 

When the school was founded, the board of trustees decided to serve and support families by establishing a faith-based tuition policy. Since inception, net tuition payments have covered approximately 60 percent of the school’s operating expenses, and donations have covered the remaining 40 percent. 

Holy Trinity awarded $353,000 in needs-based financial assistance to the families of 40 percent of its students in the 2016-2017 school year. As enrollment continues to grow, the level of funds raised also must increase to sustain the school’s operating viability.

A founding board member, Gulbrandsen has no children or grandchildren in the school, but believes strongly in its mission. He has served as president, vice president and treasurer of the board of trustees, devoting his skills to the Finance, Development and Curriculum committees. He is currently a member of the board of governors.

In his new position, Gulbrandsen will be responsible for creating strategy for the overall development and stewardship of the school’s annual giving needs and long-term capital expansion needs programs. Further, he is responsible for increasing fundraising through capital, comprehensive and annual campaigns, scholarship and program endowment, major gifts, planned gifts, grants and cultivating future alumni.

“I have been blessed to have served Holy Trinity since its inception,” Gulbrandsen said. “I am amazed at the impact HTCCS is having on its students and families. This ministry excites me more than any other. I can’t wait to continue to share our story and vision as the school’s first director of development.”

Green, currently serving as a teacher assistant, has four children enrolled at Holy Trinity. She has consistently volunteered to support major school events, including the Annual Fund Gala Dinner, the Heritage Hall Dance Society President’s Day Ball, the Feed the Need Fundraiser, Teacher Appreciation Week, the Field Day, the Fun Run and annual school theatrical productions.

In her new position, Green is responsible for creating, coordinating and conducting HTCCS events, Development activities, donor correspondence, and managing and reporting donor data.

“Serving on the Holy Trinity Development Team is a tremendous growth opportunity for me professionally,” she says. “It is an ideal fit for the gifts, talents, skill sets and passions that God has given me. I look forward to serving all of our students, parents and donors, as well as creating memorable events that reflect the amazing things that God is doing at HTCCS.”

Holy Trinity’s 275 students in grades preschool through nine study Latin, the great works of poetry, literature, art, music, history, phonics and mathematics, all within the framework of a Christ-centered learning environment.

School briefs for April 6th-12th

in School News/Schools by

Bridges Prep among top ‘School of Distinction’

Teacher Michael Glaze conducts class at Bridges Prep.
Teacher Michael Glaze conducts class at Bridges Prep.

Bridges Prep’s academics and academic growth earned it the “School of Distinction” award from the S.C. Charter School District and is one of only three in South Carolina recognized for excellence in both student achievement and academic growth.

The State Charter School District cited Bridges for its “exemplary work” improving student academic growth and its strong performance ranking.

“We are extremely proud of this honor and we are equally proud of the hard work that went into earning it, hard work by our teachers, our staff, our students and our families,” said Dee Matthews, chair of the Bridges Prep board of directors.

Bridges Prep is one of eight schools in South Carolina to be named a School of Distinction, and is one of three in the state to be recognized for both high student achievement and strong rates of academic improvement. The other two state charter schools recognized are in Greenville and Rock Hill.

More than 62 percent of Bridges middle schoolers met or exceeded state standards in English/Language Arts and 53 percent of Bridges elementary students met or exceeded standards for ELA.

 In math, more than 56 percent of Bridges elementary students met or exceeded standards with 49 percent of its middle school students reaching that level.

As a state charter school, Bridges Prep is open to all students in the Lowcountry without tuition. 

Visit www.bridgesprep.org or call 843-982-7737.

Holy Trinity talent show set for Friday, April 7

Students, teachers and even some canine performers will show off their talents during the Second Annual Student Talent Show conducted by Holy Trinity Classical Christian School on Friday, April 7, at the Praise Assembly of God Church in Beaufort.

The doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and the curtain will go up at 6 p.m. at the church at 800 Parris Island Gateway. The Rev. Chad E. Lawrence, the school headmaster, will serve as master of ceremonies.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for students to showcase their talents outside of the classroom environment,” Headmaster Lawrence says. “I was awestruck by last year’s performances and I can’t wait to see what this year has in store.”

Holy Trinity’s 275 students in grades preschool through nine study Latin, the great works of poetry, literature, art, music, history, phonics and mathematics, all within the framework of a Christ-centered learning environment. Students have come to eagerly anticipate the now annual, talent show. 

“This year’s talent show is amazing,” says Cricket Harter, the lead parent talent show organizer. “The students really understood the importance of preparing for auditions. We had 34 acts sign up and we had to narrow it down to 16 for the show. It was so difficult to choose that we had to have callbacks for the upper school students.”

Admission is $5. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Women’s group sponsors program for STEM girls

The Beaufort Branch of American Association of University Women (AAUW), along with the University of South Carolina and Beaufort County Public Schools, held the first ever STEM career day recently.  

The 48 middle school girls from Beaufort County who attended had a fun day of activities with presenters from STEM careers, which include Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The keynote speaker was Marie McClune who is a retired engineering geologist.

During the day each girl participated in three hands-on technical activities of her choice from STEM-related careers where they solved a crime using blood testing, built the tallest tower from paper, followed a Lego specification, built electrical circuits, learned about computer programming and developed mathematical equations with cubes. In addition, all of the technical session leaders explained how fulfilling a career in STEM could be as they gave real-life examples of their own experiences.  

While the girls were in the workshops their parents/guardians attended discussions with experts in STEM education about how they could support their daughters in pursuing STEM careers. 

Senior Scholars recognized at banquet

The Beaufort County School District recently honored 42 high school seniors for outstanding academic achievement at the 2017 Senior Scholars Banquet.

Senior Scholars have maintained a cumulative 3.5 grade-point average or higher, are ranked in the top 10 percent of their graduating classes and have earned the equivalent of a 3.5 GPA in all quarters of their high school courses.

“These students have worked incredibly hard, they are excellent role models, their potential is off the charts, and they are outstanding in every sense of the word,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss.

The banquet speaker was Jurnee Jones-Holcombe, a 2017 Senior Scholar who is May River High School’s student body president.  

The Senior Scholar banquet honorees were Sam Aerni; Matthew Ball; Isabelle Boatright; Robin Bridgers; Emily Bruce; Jonathan Buck; Sophia Bursch; Michael Caramello; Hannah Cherewko; Taylor Christie; Maxwell Crisologo; Ariana Diaz; Phillip Evans; Thomas Felver; Shae Gantt; Ashton Giammona; Walter Gnann; Trevor Guynop; Savannah Heitmann; Allison Hughes; Olivia Jackson; Jurnee Jones-Holcombe; Holly Kerr; Isabella Kimbrell; Vinit Krishna; Karah Kurtz; Isabelle Lieblein; Meleena Lin; Juliette MacMurray; Briona Millidge; Ajhia Parker; Gracie Pietz; Madeline Prince; James Roberts; Carolyn Rosenblum; Virginia Scott; Clinton Taylor; Alice Ward; Haley Weber; Jonathan Witt; Dylan Yarborough; and Jorge Torres Villalva .

Local students win science fair awards

More than 300 Beaufort County students, all top finishers at individual school science fairs across the county, competed for honors at the 2017 Sea Island Regional Science Fair.

Six Beaufort County School District students won first-place awards in their respective categories, including one middle school student who earned “Best in Show” honors:

• Jackie O’Riordan (H.E. McCracken Middle): Zoology/Medicine – “Antibiotic Resistance” earned Best-in-Show honors 

• Alora Orr (River Ridge Academy): Botony/Microbiology – “Powerful Nuts”

• Calvin Bernstein (Hilton Head Island Middle): Math/Engineering – “Building a Life-Size BB-8”

• August Rios (Bluffton Middle) Physics: “The Effect of the Water-to-Air Ratio in a Submarine to its Buoyancy”

• Luke McGuire (Beaufort High) Zoology/Medicine: “Listening to Differences: Analyzing Bat Feeding Behavior.” This project earned the Rob & Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiative as well as the Intel Excellence in Computer Science Award.

• Maile Paulmeier (Bluffton High) Math/Engineering: “A Comparative Analysis of Alternative Heating Methods of an Artificial Nylon Muscle”

McGuire and Paulmeier will travel to Los Angeles in May to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. O’Riordan will also make the trip as a middle school-level observer.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, with more than $4 million in college scholarships and prize awards, is expected to draw more than 1,700 student competitors from 75 countries.  More than 7 million students competed at the local level.

Board of Education revises school calendar

The Beaufort County Board of Education has revised the 2017-18 academic calendar to change the first day of school from Monday, Aug. 21, to Thursday, Aug. 17.

By state law, no South Carolina public school can begin classes prior to the third Monday in August, which this year is Aug. 21.  

But legislation recently approved by the General Assembly allows school districts to begin the 2017-18 year on Aug. 17 because of the solar eclipse that will affect much of South Carolina on Aug. 21.

Under the newly revised 2017-18 calendar, students will not attend school on the date of the solar eclipse although it will be a work day for teachers and staff. 

The 2017-18 calendar still includes a longer winter break, a preference indicated by parents and district employees in online surveys last month. The version approved by the board adds an additional day to winter break, which will now begin on Thursday, Dec. 21.

Local students named to Dean’, Chancellor lists

Jordan Fields and Sarah Wilson, both of Beaufort, have been named to the Dean’s List at the University of South Carolina Upstate.

To be eligible for the Dean’s List, freshmen students must earn a 3.25 or higher and be enrolled in at least 12 course hours and upperclassmen must earn a 3.5 or higher and be enrolled in at least 12 course hours.

Matthew Morgan of Beaufort has been named to the Fall 2016 Chancellor’s List at the University of South Carolina Upstate.

To be eligible for the Chancellor’s List, students must earn a 4.0 and be enrolled in at least 12 course hours.

Students honored at banquet as 2017 South Carolina Junior Scholars

in School News/Schools by

One-hundred and forty-nine Beaufort County eighth-graders were honored recently for being named Junior Scholars by the South Carolina Department of Education.

The students and their parents were recognized at a Junior Scholars Banquet sponsored by the Beaufort County School District.   

“This recognition recognizes your potential to become a success in school and in life,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss. “Whether you live up to that potential is up to you.”

The banquet’s featured speaker was Brooke Everly, who graduated as the valedictorian of the Class of 2016 at Whale Branch Early College High School with both a South Carolina high school diploma and an associate’s degree from the Technical College of the Lowcountry.  

Everly is currently a cadet at The Citadel, where she maintains a 3.8 GPA and plans to graduate next spring with the intention of continuing into the Citadel’s Accelerated Master’s program for biology.  Her longer-term goals include attending medical school and becoming a surgical oncologist.

The Junior Scholars Program was developed by the South Carolina Department of Education to identify eighth-graders with exceptional academic talent and to develop strategies for inclusion into special programs. The program includes a process for screening, identifying and recognizing students with high scholastic achievement and intellectual ability.

Eligible students include those who score 50 or higher on the PSAT (preliminary SAT) in verbal, math or writing, or those who participated in Duke University’s Talent Identification Program (TIP) during their seventh-grade years.

Students from Northern Beaufort County who were honored include:

Nevaeh Babb, Danyelle Bethea, Matthew Bornscheuer, Brody Connell, Esasha Frazier, Ethan Glover, Elizabeth Gray, Kaiya Johnson, Trey Smith and Amyah Todd, all of Beaufort Middle School; Travis Cato, Claire Davis, Karissa Gold, Caleb Henry, Drake Ireton, Mark May, Omarion McKinnon, Lucas Michels, Zoe Pejsa, Jacob Schatzle, Megan Schoener, Aidan Taylor and Ariana Watson, all of Lady’s Island Middle School; Samantha Aguero, Jaykob Aguilar, Jaxon Beebe, Sophia Corey, Sadie Flemetis, Dawson Hatch, Quintin Rowley, Emily Rivard, Hannah Parson and Michael Montanez, all of River Ridge Academy; Owen Dando, Lilah Delbos, Henry Harper, Walker Perryman, Hopi Stewart, Grace Trask and William Winburn, all of Riverview Charter School; Thien Tran and Anthony Dix, both of Robert Smalls International Academy; and Piper Reid of Whale Branch Middle.

School briefs for March 30th-April 5th

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Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 12.31.58 PM

Photo above: The students who successfully completed Girls On the Run were MiAngel Berbeck, Cecilia Achodot-Oberu, Jamerrah Bellinger, Nyasia Billups, Zamaria Chaplin, Audiyah Gardner, Shakierra Gardner, Janiyah Lynard, Elliott Pence, Tyesha Smalls, Orika Clark, Justice Albury and Dermony Holmes. 

St. Peter's Catholic School student Harrison Thayer came in first place in the SCISA Regional Spelling Bee and second place in the State Spelling Bee.
St. Peter’s Catholic School student Harrison Thayer came in first place in the SCISA Regional Spelling Bee and second place in the State Spelling Bee.

Students participate in Girls On the Run

Lady’s Island Elementary School (LIES) recently participated in Girls On the Run, an after-school physical activity-based positive youth development program for girls. 

The girls are taught life skills through dynamic interactive lessons and running games. 

The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5K running event, which was held on March 18 at River Ridge Academy. 

The goal of this program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness. 

The head coaches at LIES were Jalissa Newton, school counselor, and Ashley Walker, a first-grade teacher. Assistant coaches were Catherine Carroll, a kindergarten teacher, and Meredith Rocha and Rachel Grindle, both first-grade teachers. 

LIES plans to have two seasons next year because Girls on The Run was so much fun for the coaches and students.

Students to perform original play

Forty students will be performing in an original play entitled “The Lost Isle” at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 6, at Lady’s Island Elementary School. 

The play has been underwritten by an Excellence in Education Foundation Grant awarded to theater teacher Carol Dawson and dance teacher Lisa Teneyck. 

The play is a result of a student writing project known as “Page to Stage.”

Each Thursday after school, a group of 10 student writers in grades 2-5 met to create a story that could be produced as a viable children’s play. After five months of writing, rewriting and pitching ideas, the story evolved. 

These young writers are now seeing their play produced and watching their words come to life. 

“The Lost Isle” is about good versus evil in the character of Captain Max and his trusty dog, Salty. Along the way are many adventures that test Captain Max and his patience. Many creatures from the high seas and a deserted island give him just the perspective he needs to see the error of his ways. 

There is no admission cost, but donations of a canned good or dry good for the food bank will be collected at the door.

Veteran executive selected as CFO

A veteran finance manager has been named the Beaufort County School District’s new chief financial and operations officer. 

Tonya Crosby has been with the school district for 16 years and currently serves as its finance services officer.  

Her responsibilities in that role have included preparing the district’s $215 million annual budget, developing annual financial statements, supervising the district’s general accounting functions and training district and school-level staff in budget preparation.

As CFO, Crosby will direct the budgeting, accounting and reporting of all school district funds; take a lead role in long-term financial planning; direct the development of the district’s capital facilities plan; and be responsible for divisions such as technology and food services.

Superintendent Jeff Moss said that the school district has a “well-deserved and time-tested reputation for efficient business operations and prudent budgeting.”

Over the past 17 years, he noted that the district has never had a negative financial finding in any of its annual independent audits and has won numerous awards for excellence in financial reporting.  

The district’s bond ratings are Aa1 with Moody’s Investors Service and AA with Standard and Poor’s.   

“Continuing the district’s long tradition of financial and business excellence made this a very important hire,” Moss said, “and I’m confident that Ms. Crosby will be effective in her expanded responsibilities.”

Crosby, a graduate of Clemson University, is both a certified public accountant and a certified government finance officer. 

Crosby replaces Phyllis White, who retired in December.   

Performing arts center coming to Whale Branch

The Beaufort County board of education recently voted to devote a portion of its borrowing capacity to building a performing arts center at Whale Branch Early College High School.

Whale Branch is the only district high school that does not have a performing arts-style auditorium for student performances and classes. It is also the only district high school that doesn’t have a larger competition gym.  

Parents and community supporters had urged the district to build both a performing arts center and a competition gymnasium since the high school opened in 2010.

The board voted on Feb. 7 to build a gym and recently voted to build the performing arts center.  

Both projects will be funded under a state-authorized provision that allows local school boards to borrow up to 8 percent of their districts’ assessed property value for facilities construction and improvement.

“Beyond the excitement this will certainly generate among our students, our staff and our surrounding community, the new instructional opportunities are wonderful and plentiful,” said Mona Lise Dickson, the high school’s principal. “We plan to make full use of those opportunities and enhance our kids’ educational experiences, not to mention their artistic and athletic experiences.”

Bus executive selected as transportation head

A veteran Aiken County school bus executive with a broad range of work experience – including three years behind the wheel – is the Beaufort County School District’s new director of transportation.

Maria McClure worked in various positions with Aiken County Schools over the last 31 years, starting off as a bus driver.  

After being promoted to transportation secretary and later to Area 1 transportation supervisor, she was named as Aiken County’s executive manager of transportation, a position she held for 13 years. She also performed driver exams for Commercial Driver’s License applicants.

“I’m excited to begin a new chapter in my transportation career, particularly working in such a beautiful place and with such welcoming people,” McClure said.

In her new job, McClure will supervise about 175 drivers and staff responsible for transporting more than 11,000 students to or from school each day on about 190 buses that travel more than 11,000 miles each day.

Home-schooled teens shine at forensics event

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Photo above: Lauren Curry and Brodie Brant won the Team Policy Debate.

The National Christian Forensics and Communications Association provides home-schooled high school students the opportunity to compete in speech and debate tournaments at a regional and national level.  

NCFCA allows students to develop their critical thinking and speaking skills through Team Policy and Lincoln Douglas Debate as well as various speech formats.

Christos Apologia, a local NCFCA club, recently competed in the NCFCA Region VIII Qualifying Tournament held at Columbia International University in Columbia.  

Region VIII includes Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Several local club members made it to the finals in various events.

Brodie Brant and Lauren Curry, home-school students from CBCCA Christian Academy, won the Team Policy Debate, competing against 24 other teams.  The TP Debate resolution for this year was “The United States Federal Government should substantially reform its policies towards the People’s Republic of China.”

Elaina Mansell won the Biographical Narrative category with a speech based on the life of Virginia Prodan, a Romanian attorney persecuted for her Christianity.  

Bud Mansell placed second in Biblical Presentation with a selection of scripture from the Book of John, highlighting the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.  

Haddie Mansell placed second in Original Interpretation detailing the story of a little girl injured in the workhouses of Wales in the early 1800s.

These students along with several others from the club have qualified to compete in the Regional Championship in April for a slot at the National Championship in June held in Minnesota at University of Northwestern St. Paul.

The NCFCA is always looking for members of the community to judge at the various events. Visit www.ncfca.org.

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