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

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

Dr. Valerie Jackson
Dr. Valerie Jackson

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

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

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

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

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

District students earn recognition at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

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

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

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

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

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

Local students win BJWSA Drinking Water Week contests

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

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

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

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

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

TCL honors 46 health sciences graduates

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

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

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

The Physical Therapist Assistant graduates are:

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

The Associate Degree in Nursing graduates are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Attention Parents of Beaufort High School Athletes!

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Physicals are required in order to participate in sports during the 2016-2017 school year. Physicals are scheduled for Saturday, May 21, 2016. They will be held in the Beaufort High main gym (84 Sea Island Pkwy, Beaufort, SC, 29907) from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Athletes should come with a physical form signed by a parent/legal guardian or be escorted by a parent/legal guardian. The cost is $20.

TheraVista to host “Camp Un-Plug”

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Are you looking for something fun this summer that will allow your child to disconnect from technology for a few days but not have to travel far? Look no more…Camp Un-Plug does just that. It is a mobile device-free residential camp for 9-12 year olds at TheraVista on Lady’s Island. Through using a variety of activities including Water Play, Creative Play, Land Play and Yummy Food Play, the staff at Camp Un-Plug is committed to demonstrating and teaching ways for your child to connect with themselves and nature.

Girls Camp will run from July 11-14 and the Boys Camp July 18-21. The deadline to register is May 31st. For more information, please call 843-812-1328 or email Elizabeth at

Historic Beaufort Foundation takes campers back in time this summer

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Looking for something fun and different this summer for your boys and girls between 8-11 years old? Let Historic Beaufort Foundation take them back in time! Campers will explore a different slice of history each day through walks, crafts, hands-on activities, and more. Important milestones in Lowcountry history will be featured – Five days – 327 years of Beaufort History!

Camps are open to ages 8-11 and are offered three weeks this summer: June 20-24; July 11-15; and August 1-5. $70/week per camper for members of HBF with a family membership or higher $80/week per camper for non-members of HBF.

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Camps will include field trips to nearby cultural sites/museums; register each child and session separately; Camp hours are 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. For additional information or to register children please call 843.379.3331.

John Paul II recognizes newly inducted National Honor Society members

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John Paul II Catholic School held their National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) and National Honor Society (NHS)  induction ceremonies recently.

The NJHS and NHS are the nation’s premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school and middle school students. More than just an honor roll, NJHS and NHS serves to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character.

National Junior Honors Society Members
National Junior Honors Society Members

National Junior Honors Society Members

Mark Alvarez
Cohen Bruner
Elizabeth Chain
Lindsay Franklin
Abigail Gigliotti
Hayden Jennings
Dayton Loper
Christine Lundblad
Eileen Lundblad
Emily Oldham
Katherine Reilly
Andrew Swanson
Milla Wojciechowski

National Honors Society Members
National Honors Society Members

National Honors Society Members

Sidney Anger
Abigail Barker
Emma Burton
Joey Cucinotta
Thomas Kender
Parker Kenyon
Alina McMath
Darby O’Donnell
Blake Parsons
Andrea Suarez
Morgan Summers
Mark Tigges
Brad Tigges

Five district schools earn arts in education grants from South Carolina Arts Commission

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Five Beaufort County schools have won more than $52,000 in grants to enhance arts education in their classrooms, the South Carolina Arts Commission has announced.

Only one South Carolina school district – Richland District 1 in Columbia – had more 2017 grant winners than Beaufort County.

The five schools were:

  • Beaufort Middle School ($9,437, eighth grant) and Mossy Oaks Elementary ($12,883, first grant) will work together to produce a musical performance of “The Lion King Jr.” to showcase the skills and talents of students for parents and the community. The grants also will help support the schools’ artists-in-residence programs.
  • Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts ($10,799, fourteenth grant) will use its grant to purchase dance shoes for students, arts supplies, costumes and props for theater productions and teacher professional development in the arts.
  • Lady’s Island Elementary ($11,509, sixth grant) will create expanded performing arts spaces in classrooms, support its artists-in-residence program and also purchase classroom materials that support the integration of the arts into its curriculum.
  • Lady’s Island Middle ($8,327, third grant) will create a lab for arts and math teachers to use in creating collaborative student projects that involve both disciplines. The grant will also support the school’s artists-in-residence program.

“Arts education enriches not only the lives of students who participate, but also the lives of entire communities,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss. “These five schools serve as models for our district and our state.”

The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment statewide. Created by the General Assembly in 1967, the Commission works to increase public participation in the arts through arts education, community arts development and artist development.

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