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Teachers celebrated at annual event

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Martha Hartley, CFO of Hitlon Head Cadillac Buick GMC, presented Teacher of the Year Elizabeth MacMurray with $5,000 that could be used as a gift or applied to the purchase of a vehicle from the dealership.
Martha Hartley, CFO of Hitlon Head Cadillac Buick GMC, presented Teacher of the Year Elizabeth MacMurray with $5,000 that could be used as a gift or applied to the purchase of a vehicle from the dealership.

By Kat Walsh

Talk about a tough competition.

In a room filled with Teachers of the Year – one from each building in the school district – a roomful of those who daily go above and beyond, the task was to pick the winner from the top five finalists to become Beaufort County’s 2016-17 District Teacher of the Year.

“It is not an easy decision, for we are in a roomful of winners,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss.

In listing the district’s academic achievements and successes, Moss said that just doesn’t happen without hard work and dedication. “The No. 1 reason we are successful is you.”

Portraits of Success, the theme of the celebration, were read for each of the five finalists: Lawrence Anderson, of Mossy Oaks Elementary School; Bebe Cifaldi, of Hilton Head School for the Creative Arts; Kelly Goudy, of Robert Smalls International Academy; Elizabeth MacMurray, of Hilton Head Island High; and Jennifer Stoddard, of Beaufort Middle School.

As with most in their profession, these finalists do so much more than just “teach.”

Often arriving before sunrise and leaving after sunset, no one works a student school day. They get to know their students and their stories. To their colleagues, they are team leaders and mentors. To their students, they are cheerleaders, listeners, tough-love givers and friends. For their students, they are challengers and champions.

“They are each Teacher of the Year every year,” said Moss, before announcing Elizabeth MacMurray as the 2016-17 District Teacher of the Year.

“I’ll start with ‘Wow!’” said MacMurray, who has been in the classroom since 1982. “I am truly humbled and privileged to be a teacher in the Beaufort County School District.”

MacMurray, the daughter of two teachers and mother of one, said that teaching is in her blood. “If scientists can’t find it in my DNA, then psychologists should study my environment to debate whether nature or nurture influences destiny.”

Amanda O’Nan, principal at Hilton Head Island High, described MacMurray as a teacher she would want her own children to have.

“She has a heart of gold and that’s why our students gravitate to her. Magic happens in her classroom.”

Known as a role model for a teacher in any school setting, MacMurray stressed that teachers needed to stand by one another.

“We must support each other because it is a hard job. We do sacrifice. But when you make that sacrifice and you get to look at kids and see the great things that they can accomplish – wow.”

In presenting MacMurray with a $1,000 grant from the Foundation for Educational Excellence for innovative instruction, Jackie Rosswurm acknowledged how amazing it was to sit in a room with a group of teachers who devote their lives to what is good for students.

But, she said that it also was quite a difficult act to follow: “When you come up to speak after a group of children and adults have spoken about the Teacher of the Year finalists, and then the actual teacher of the year comes up to speak, please!”

In the closing remarks, Carizma Brown, of BCSD communications, spoke about her experience videotaping the students in each finalists’ classroom.

“I thought I was there to just shoot a few videos, and I wound up inspired. You all inspired me so much. And I cannot thank you enough for what you do every day, and every night for our students.”

School briefs for September 22nd-28th

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Colleges make pitches to over 2,500 students

Seventy-five colleges and universities made sales pitches to Beaufort County public and private high school juniors and seniors recently at a college fair that drew more than 2,500 students to Bluffton High School.

Schools advertising their programs to students ranged from small private colleges to large public universities.

Local schools included the University of South Carolina Beaufort and the Technical College of the Lowcountry, while out-of-state schools included Florida State, Ohio State and Alabama.

Students visited booths staffed by college and university representatives who answered students’ questions about academic offerings, tuition costs and scholarship opportunities.

Superintendent Jeff Moss said that the annual college fair focuses students on preparing for new goals after they graduate from high school.

“We know that the best careers for our students will require more education beyond high school,” Moss said.  “Our annual college fair points students in that direction, and it’s also exciting for them to see so many colleges and universities competing for their attention.”

The Citadel welcomes the Class of 2020

The Citadel officially welcomed the Class of 2020. The incoming class of over 800 new cadets and students represents 36 states and seven foreign countries.

The following cadets matriculated as part of The Citadel’s Class of 2020, the largest recorded freshman class in the history of the college: Thomas Henderson, Logan Hofmann, John Inglis, David Lentz, Alec Melville and Evan Parry, all of Beaufort; and Bridgette Beach, Carmen Jones, Jessica Phillips, Maria Urso, Matthew Seelman, Max Brown, Maxine Chisolm and Melissa Lavery, all of Bluffton.

In other Citadel news, the Band Company has been awarded the Commandant’s Cup for the 2015-16 school year.

Christopher Wallace, of Beaufort, was among 59 other cadets in Band Company recognized for their performance during parade and squad drill.

Additionally, Carli Cline and Forrest Kimbrell, both of Beaufort, were part of the company awarded the 2016 President’s Cup. It is awarded annually to the cadet company that establishes the highest combined score in academic achievement, military performance, extracurricular participation and class retention.

School briefs for September 15th-21st

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Top photo: From left are Robinson award winner Lawrence Lindsay’s parents and brother, Shannon, William and Anne Lindsay, Lawrence Lindsay, T. Reynolds Robinson’s father and brother, Bill Robinson and Clark Robinson, and BA Headmaster Stephen Schools.

BA student wins Robinson award

Beaufort Academy sophomore Lawrence Lindsay was recently named as the recipient of the 2016 T. Reynolds Robinson Scholarship.

This scholarship has been awarded annually at BA since 1989 – the year Reynolds died tragically at the age of 13. Reynolds was a student at Beaufort Academy during his short, but full-of-adventure life.

This scholarship is awarded by his family in celebration and remembrance of Reynolds. Recipients must possess many of the qualities that people loved about Reynolds, such as strong leadership and athletic ability and the respect and friendship of classmates, in addition to maintaining a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 during the seventh, eighth and ninth grades.

Awarded to a 10th grader, the scholarship offers $1,500 toward the student’s college education.

Church leaders to visit Holy Trinity students

Twelve senior leaders from the Anglican Leadership Institute will visit with students from Holy Trinity on Saturday, Sept. 17, to learn more about the classical Christian education provided to students at the school. The leaders, primarily Anglican, hail from three countries in Africa, as well as North and South America, China and the Middle East.

The program at the Parish Church of St. Helena will include presentations by Holy Trinity students on what a classical Christian education means to them, a recitation from one of the great books, a musical performance, a parent testimony and a keynote address by the Rev. Chad E. Lawrence, the school headmaster.

School district sets Jan. 4 as make-up day

The Beaufort County School District has set Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, as the make-up day for classes missed when the district closed schools during Tropical Storm Hermine.

Classes were originally scheduled to reopen after winter break on Thursday, Jan. 5.  Schools will now reopen on Jan. 4.

USCB team develops website for Penn Center

A year of planning, development and plain old hard work by a team of students at the University of South Carolina Beaufort culminated in a fresh, new website for the Penn Center in July. Now the team is already planning to develop a new website for a second client, the Heritage Library Foundation on Hilton Head Island.

Working closely with Victoria Smalls, director of Development and Marketing, and Mariah Robinson, a former intern at Penn Center, Dr. Brian Canada began researching the 100 most-effective nonprofit websites to find appropriate examples to emulate.

Visit www.penncenter.com to see the updated website.

Holy Trinity students study Latin to learn English grammar

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Why should anyone learn Latin? It’s a dead language, right?

Quite the contrary, actually. There are many reasons to learn Latin. It’s the language of law, government, logic and theology. It’s also the most efficient way to learn English grammar. In fact, the study of Latin is a key building block in the learning process at Holy Trinity Classical Christian School in Beaufort.

“Children begin to learn Latin during the grammar phase as the language not only serves as the underpinning for much of the English language and vocabulary, but it also begins to train the mind to think precisely and logically.”

Elizabeth Booman teaches second grade at Holy Trinity. Her students begin their formal Latin instruction with “Prima Latina: Introduction to Christian Latin.” As a gentle introduction to the language, it prepares her 7-year-olds for the more advanced study of Latin yet to come.

Each weekly lesson consists of a grammar form, 10 vocabulary words and a Latin saying that teaches students about their Christian or classical heritage. Each lesson also includes simple English derivatives of Latin words to help build their English vocabulary.

“I love making up fun, fast-paced activities to do in Latin,” she said. “Games like ‘derivative bingo’ and ‘flashcard frenzy’ keep us smiling and on our toes. We also love our morning Latin recitation, where we chant or sing every Latin word we know. As our vocabulary list gets longer and longer, we get louder and prouder!”

Students in third grade use “Latina Christiana,” while older students rely on the “Memoria Press” series, which endeavors to teach the whole of the Latin grammar in four years through clear explanations, easy instructions and a step-by-step approach. Students in the grammar stage memorize Latin grammar by employing the time-tested method of oral recitation and form drills.

By the time Holy Trinity students reach the high school years, they will be prepared to engage Ovid, Virgil and Caesar in their original works.

Founded in 2012, Holy Trinity Classical Christian School provides 275 students with a distinctly Christian and classical education. Holy Trinity is the result of a long-standing commitment to education by the Parish Church of St. Helena, beginning in 1748 with the founding of the first free school in Beaufort and later in 1801 by the donation of 20 acres of land for the establishment of Beaufort College, resulting in what is now the University of South Carolina Beaufort.  The current student body of Holy Trinity is comprised of families from over a dozen Christian churches of various denominations. For more information about the academic excellence offered at Holy Trinity, visit www.htccs.org.

Top photo: “I love teaching Latin because of the excitement coming from the students: they can’t wait to learn a new word or phrase, they can’t wait to discover a new and amazing connection between Latin and English, and they can’t wait to impress their family and friends with the challenging derivatives! …They are better ENGLISH learners because they are LATIN learners!” said Elizabeth Booman, second-grade teacher, HTCCS.

School briefs for September 8th-14th

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Coosa Elementary receives grant

Coosa Elementary School recently received a $2,500 youth literacy grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

This grant is part of $4.5 million in youth literacy grants awarded to approximately 1,000 organizations across the 43 states that Dollar General serves.

Given at the beginning of the academic school year, these grants are aimed at supporting teachers, schools and organizations with resources to strengthen and enhance literacy instruction.

“By awarding these grants, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation is committed to making a meaningful impact in our local communities,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s chief executive officer. “These grants provide funds to support youth literacy initiatives and educational programs throughout the communities we serve to ensure a successful academic year
for students.”

Committed to helping increase the literacy skills of individuals of all ages, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $127 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping nearly 7.9 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy or continued education since its inception in 1993.

Bingham named to President’s List

John Bingham, of Beaufort, was among 53 other cadets at The Citadel that were named to the President’s List for the spring 2016 semester.

The President’s List is one of the most distinguished cadet awards presented by The Citadel. It indicates excellence in academics and military duties.

The list is a combination of the Dean’s List and the Commandant’s Distinguished List and is composed of cadets who contribute the most to their companies while maintaining excellent military and academic records.

Local students outperform state averages

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Beaufort County School District seniors – members of the district’s first graduating class where 100 percent of its students took the ACT college entrance exam – scored above South Carolina averages in 2016.

The composite 2016 ACT average for all Beaufort County School District seniors was 18.7, compared to the state public and private school combined average of 18.5.

Scores range from a low of 1 to a high of 36.

District averages were also higher for combined public and private school averages in all four ACT exams used to determine composite scores.

Among individual district high schools, Battery Creek High 11th-graders’ 2016 composite average score was 16.4, Beaufort High’s was 19, Bluffton High’s was 19.3, Hilton Head Island High’s was 19.5 and Whale Branch Early College High’s was 16.5

The ACT is a group of curriculum-based achievement exams designed to measure the academic skills taught in schools and deemed important for success in first-year college courses.

The General Assembly approved mandatory ACT testing for all 11th-graders in 2014.

Like the six other states that instated similar requirements, South Carolina saw declines in average 2016 ACT scores reported for seniors because all of them had taken the ACT as juniors in 2015.

In the Beaufort County School District, scores were reported for 1,259 seniors in 2016 compared to 591 the previous year.

Previously, the decision to take the ACT was optional for South Carolina high school students. Students will take the test whether or not they plan to attend college.

Students do not have to pass the ACT test to receive a high school diploma.

“These 2016 scores amount to a baseline year for Beaufort County because it’s our first senior class where everyone took the ACT,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss. “While our seniors scored above the state average, our goal is to exceed the national average and ultimately be among the nation’s leaders.”

State and national testing experts attributed the drop in seniors’ scores from 2015 to 2016 to the state’s newly instituted 100 percent-tested requirement.

Moss stressed the importance of high school students taking courses recommended by both the ACT and SAT.  Those courses include four years of English; three or more years of mathematics, including algebra I and II and geometry; three or more years of social studies, including American history and government and world history; and three or more years of natural sciences, such as general, physical and earth science, biology, chemistry and physics.

School briefs for September 1st-7th

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Ribbon-cutting held at May River High

School district and Bluffton town leaders cut a ceremonial royal blue and silver ribbon and then followed student guides on a tour of May River High, the district’s newest high school since Whale Branch Early College High opened in 2010.

Nearly 1,000 students attend college-prep and advanced technical classes at May River High. Its Advanced Technical Center offers four areas of study – automotive, engineering, health sciences, mechatronics and welding – that have attracted students from other attendance zones who applied for admission through the district’s expanded school choice program. The building has the capacity to house as many as 1,400 students and offers room for additional expansion.

“It’s the most economical high school we’ve built from a cost standpoint, and we’re very proud of it,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss.  “We’re also proud of the staff and students who work here each day. The school pride within this building is amazing, and it’s contagious.”

Holy Trinity nourishes body, mind and soul 

Plato, a pivotal figure in the development of Western philosophy, religion and education, once observed, “Gymnastic as well as music should begin in early years; the training in it should be careful and should continue through life.”

No one takes his observation more to heart than Amy Patrick, athletic director of the Holy Trinity Classical Christian School in Beaufort. Administrators, faculty and students at Holy Trinity believe that nourishing the body works in tandem with developing the mind and cultivating the soul of each of the school’s 275 students.

Responsibility for engaging all Holy Trinity students — from the age of 2 through high school — rests with a former double collegiate athlete. Patrick earned a Bachelor’s in Spanish with a minor in biology at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., where she competed in cross country and lacrosse. Now a registered nurse, her academic interests involve physiology, anatomy and cultural awareness.

“As most things require teamwork,” she says, “the sooner young people can learn to work with others on and off the playing field, the better prepared they will be for difficult tasks and challenges later in life.”

“The students at Holy Trinity love the school, the teachers and their friends. The teachers love the school and they want their students to succeed," said Amy Patrick, above.
“The students at Holy Trinity love the school, the teachers and their friends. The teachers love the school and they want their students to succeed,” said Amy Patrick, above.

School briefs for August 25th-31st

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“I like reading anything that’s about history,” said Holy Trinity fourth-grader Joshua Mark. “If you have something that’s about history and share it with me, I’ll like it.”
“I like reading anything that’s about history,” said Holy Trinity fourth-grader Joshua Mark. “If you have something that’s about history and share it with me, I’ll like it.”

Reading the classics is part of foundation at Holy Trinity school

Students at Holy Trinity Classical Christian School in Beaufort are being exposed to Classical Studies with rudimentary lessons at a young age and more detailed course work as they rise through the upper grades.

Classical Studies involves exposing students to Greek mythology and to Greek and Roman history, language and literature.

The courses enable the students to attain a comprehensive understanding of the roots of Western civilization.

“Education can be defined as the transmission of culture,” said Josiah Tobin, a teacher in the upper school. “At Holy Trinity, we trace back our country’s roots through Western Civilization. We do not want our students to merely read what our Founding Fathers wrote, but also what our Founding Fathers read. Our Classical Studies curriculum accomplishes this task, and the students enjoy reading about the ancient Greeks and Romans.”

Holy Trinity students are exposed to the Great Books at an early age.

Third-graders read D’Aulaires’ “Greek Myths.” Fourth-graders read “Famous Men of Rome.”

In fifth grade, students advance to “Famous Men of the Middle Ages.” Sixth-graders immerse themselves in “Famous Men of Greece,” “The Trojan War” by Olivia Coolidge and “Horatius at the Bridge.” In seventh grade, students read the “Book of the Ancient Greeks” by Dorothy Mills and Samuel Butler’s translations of the “Iliad and Odyssey.” In the eighth grade, they read the “Book of the Ancient Romans” and the David West translation of “The Aeneid.”

By the ninth grade, students are reading “The Oresteia” by Aeschylus, “Three Theban Plays” by Sophocles, “Trojan Women” and “Medea,” both by Euripides; and Classical Literary Criticism. It all comes together in grades 10, 11 and 12 when students will read “De Officiis,” “On Obligations” and “The Republic and the Laws,” all by Cicero. Then there’s “The Agricola” and “The Germania” by Tacitus, selections from Plato and Aristotle, “Philosophy 101” by Socrates, and, finally,”Western Civilization Art, Architecture and Sculpture.”

Clemson awards degrees at August graduation

Local residents are among summer 2016 graduates of Clemson University.

They are Katherine Marie Neal, of Beaufort, who graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Animal and Veterinary Sciences; Thomas Chandler Jackson, of Bluffton, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management; and Dalton Miles McCaffrey, of Bluffton, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Geology

They were among nearly 1,000 students who received degrees in the Aug. 5 graduation ceremony at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville.

Martmetz graduates from University of Nebraska

Luke Merritt Hartmetz, of Bluffton, was among nearly 800 graduates who received degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln during the summer all-university commencement ceremony Aug. 13 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Hartmetz earned a bachelor of science in PGA golf management from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

TCL accepting nursing school applications

The Technical College of the Lowcountry is accepting applications until Thursday, Sept. 15, for spring 2017 entry into its associate degree in nursing (ADN) program. Classes start in January.

“Prospective students don’t have to wait until next fall to start pursuing their dreams of becoming a nurse,” health sciences dean Glenn Levicki said. “The sooner students start the program, the sooner they’ll finish and be able to enter a high-paying nursing career.”

TCL’s two-year ADN program prepares graduates to practice as registered nurses. Students experience on-campus learning using high-tech simulation equipment and receive additional hands-on practice at clinical sites located throughout Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton and Colleton counties.

For more information, call 843-525-8267 or visit www.tcl.edu/programs-of-study/health-sciences/nursing.

Beaufort Academy to hold back to school night

Beaufort Academy is holding its first Back to School BBQ Bash at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31.

This event will not only be informational, but fun. Parents will be able to check out their child’s schedule by running through their classes, meeting their teachers, mingling with fellow BA parents and then having barbecue and drinks at the main campus. Preschool parents will tour the preschool campus at 5:45 p.m. before heading to the main campus. Parents will also be able to sign up for volunteer opportunities. Beaufort Academy’s Main Campus is at 240 Sams Point Road in Beaufort. The preschool campus is at 7 Fairfield Road. For more information, call 843-524-3393.

Holy Trinity celebrates academic achievements

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It’s taken just eight years for the Holy Trinity Classical Christian School in Beaufort to grow from the seed of an idea planted over lunch into a viable educational institution.

On Aug. 17, some 275 students headed back to Holy Trinity for their first day of the new school year.

The school provides a classical Christian education in the same vein as that afforded the great thinkers and scientists in western civilization.

Today, students in grades preschool through nine at Holy Trinity are taking many of the same courses: Latin, the great works of poetry, literature, art, music and history. They are learning to master phonics and mathematics, and all within the framework of a Christ-centered learning environment.

“This is an education that not only provides a person with a rich understanding of the world,” said the Rev. Chad E. Lawrence, the school headmaster, “it also teaches students how to think and how to engage in the great questions and challenges of the day with the wisdom of the ages.”

Holy Trinity has won accolades for its level of excellence in education. Its students consistently rank in the top 10 percent in national test scores. With an exceptional retention rate, school enrollment increases every year as a new grade is added. With an average class size of 14 students, individual attention is assured.

And it all began with the germ of an idea. One day in 2007, the Rev. Jeff Miller, then rector of the Parish Church of St. Helena, met with a small group of friends over lunch and posed the idea of starting a classical Christian school in Beaufort. The group embraced the concept and the seed was planted.

Things moved quickly after that. Within two years, an ad hoc committee was formed to research classical Christian education and the feasibility of founding such a school in Beaufort.

In June of 2011, the 40-member Board of Governors met for the first time. The board adopted bylaws and elected a Board of Trustees. It affirmed the school’s mission and statement of faith. And it began the process of applying for 501(c)3 tax-exempt status.

At its first meeting, the board offered the position of founding headmaster to the Rev. Chad Lawrence, a curate at the Parish Church of St. Helena. In September of 2011, Lawrence formally assumed the role of founding headmaster with a goal of opening the school in August 2012.

Over the course of the next year, Lawrence and the Board of Trustees searched for a suitable building, hired teachers, selected the curricula and recruited students. Today’s Holy Trinity students hail from at least a dozen Christian churches in the Lowcountry.

In August 2012, right on schedule, Holy Trinity opened its doors to 100 students in preschool through fifth grade in a building leased from the Beaufort County School District. Holy Trinity administrators plan to add a grade a year until they can provide a classical Christian education to students in preschool through 12th grade.

Seventy-five percent of the Board of Governors do not have a child or grandchild at Holy Trinity.

“We are so grateful for those who are willing to look beyond themselves and support a venture that has borne so much fruit for children, our families and the community,” said Lawrence. “Not only is their work bearing fruit in Beaufort today, it will undoubtedly continue to do so for many years to come, both locally and abroad as our graduates venture out into the world.”

School enrollment has grown so rapidly that the preschool moved to a satellite campus at the Parish Church of St. Helena. The grammar and upper school remained at the original Burroughs Avenue location.

Suzanne Schwank, the recently elected chair of the 44-member Board of Governors, said, “Holy Trinity is a response to the accelerating descent of western civilization into a world view of secular humanism.

“Its founding vision was to raise up young men and women formed with a Christian world view who are so trained, educated and equipped that they can go into the world as Christ’s ambassadors, able to engage a fracturing civilization at all levels of academia and society.

“This called for a school both Christ-centered and academically rigorous. Many of us could visualize the young adults graduating from such a school, but few of us imagined the children and student body that would appear in the meantime, or their impact on the faith life of the entire family that parents are reporting.”

School briefs for August 18th-24th

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Corey Hollis, left, and Ty Page, 7, great each other for the first time during Port Royal Elementary School’s meet-and-greet Aug. 12. With Ty is his mother, Jessica Lawson. Aug. 15 marked the first day of public school throughout Beaufort County. Photo by Bob Sofaly.
Corey Hollis, left, and Ty Page, 7, great each other for the first time during Port Royal Elementary School’s meet-and-greet Aug. 12. With Ty is his mother, Jessica Lawson. Aug. 15 marked the first day of public school throughout Beaufort County. Photo by Bob Sofaly.
As one of it major programs, the Rotary Club of Beaufort supports exchange students attending Beaufort schools. The first of two exchange students for school year 2016-17 are Karolina Struharova, right, from the Czech Republic. Here, she exchanges the banner from her home Rotary, Klatovy, Czech Republic, with Rotary Club of Beaufort President Willie Mack Stansell. Struharova will be a junior at Beaufort Academy. Photo by Lisa Harrington.
As one of it major programs, the Rotary Club of Beaufort supports exchange students attending Beaufort schools. The first of two exchange students for school year 2016-17 are Karolina Struharova, right, from the Czech Republic. Here, she exchanges the banner from her home Rotary, Klatovy, Czech Republic, with Rotary Club of Beaufort President Willie Mack Stansell. Struharova will be a junior at Beaufort Academy. Photo by Lisa Harrington.
An early care and education student reads aloud to children at a local elementary school.
An early care and education student reads aloud to children at a local elementary school.

TCL is re-accredited by the NEAYC

The Technical College of the Lowcountry early care and education program recently received re-accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

“NAEYC accreditation affirms that we are offering the highest level of educational experience for our students,” said Kelli Boniecki, early care and education program director.

NAEYC is the most respected national early childhood association and seeks to foster high-quality programs through its accreditation. This extensive process includes the submission of hundreds of pages of documents and a three-day examination of the instructors, courses and facilities by a committee selected by NAEYC.

“Employers recognize and value NAEYC accreditation. They know that when they hire our graduates, they are getting a highly-qualified early childhood professional,” Boniecki said.

TCL’s early care and education associate degree program can be completed in six semesters. Coursework ranges from guidance and classroom management to science and math concepts.

Other courses offer hands-on laboratory field experiences providing students the opportunity to observe children in early childhood settings. General education courses such as English, algebra and public speaking round out the curriculum.

The program culminates with a semester-long supervised field experience course that provides students with real-world, hands-on experience in child care settings across the Lowcountry. Four specialty certificate and diploma programs are also offered.

For more information, visit www.tcl.edu/earlycare.

Bluffton students graduate from CCU

Coastal Carolina University held commencement ceremonies for an estimated 360 candidates on Aug. 5 at the HTC Student Recreation and Convocation Center on campus.

Speaker Robert Young congratulated the class for being the “first CCU students ever to graduate from the No.1 university in the nation,” referencing the national College World Series baseball title CCU won on June 30. Young is professor of marine science and director of undergraduate research at CCU.

Graduation candidates are William Ball, Patrick Briody and Clark Sinclair, all of Bluffton.

River Ridge Academy holds service day

River Ridge Academy recently held a Community Service Day where about 75 teachers hit the Bluffton community with random acts of service and kindness at over 50 businesses.

They went to various businesses and other organizations and were tasked with completing a list of  “acts of service” that included things like picking up 20 pieces of trash, holding the door (with a smile) for 25 customers, helping to unload groceries and donating books to doctor’s offices.

“Our school prides itself on the character development of our students,” said Principal Gary McCulloch. “We afford our students many learning opportunities through huddle and morning meeting to identify character practices and practice them in our school. The soft skills developed will help our students become a productive and impactful citizen.

“We are giving back to our generous school community in ways of kindness that will let people know that we appreciate them.”

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