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St. Peter’s celebrates 25 years

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This school year marks the 25th academic year of St. Peter’s Catholic Elementary School on Lady’s Island.

“There is a tangible buzz on campus,” said Principal Ann Feltner, who began her long association with the ‘Saints and Scholars’ of St. Peter’s in 1996 as a parent, and has since held various leadership and teaching positions at the school. “I can see the excitement growing that people in our community have for St. Peter’s. Many volunteers from the community are helping us make it into the vibrant campus it has become.”

She exudes enthusiasm and pride while discussing the volunteers who worked side by side with paid employees, contractors, parents, and teachers to give the school a major renovation this past summer to get it ready for its 25th anniversary year.

New paint, new lighting, new flooring, new safety doors and new security cameras were added, in addition to the volunteers who have been tutoring students, reading to classes, gardening campus grounds, working in the school office and shelving books in the library.

Admission to St. Peter’s Elementary School is open to children of all faiths, so “it is good for the children to see the volunteers from all walks of life come to the school and give of their talents,” said Feltner, who had four children attend St. Peter’s and now has grandchildren enrolled.

The school has seen many changes in the 25 years since the now-retired Monsignor Martin Laughlin began garnering support from the St. Peter’s Church parishioners because he felt strongly the children of the area deserved the opportunity to get a traditional religious education.

The school started in the small eight-room education wing of the parish complex in 1991. In its first year, the school consisted of five classrooms, a library, a work room and an office. As grades were added, space was needed.

A new school building was constructed on the church’s property in 1995. Enrollment peaked in 2000, when the school averaged about 220 students.

But the road to success wasn’t always easy.

Feltner remembers when the recession hit Beaufort in 2007 and enrollment dropped dramatically. Since then, the Beaufort County School District’s public charter schools have opened in addition to a new Christian school in downtown Beaufort. All have offered enrollment challenges to St. Peter’s Elementary School.

But Feltner remains resilient, stating “no other elementary school in the Beaufort area can offer the solid, traditional teachings” of a religious education “combined with the training, discipline and high academic standards” that St. Peter’s offers.

Two-thirds of the faculty hold graduate degrees. Spanish is taught in grades K4 through sixth grade.

Values and discipline are emphasized. Teachers are concerned about the character development of each student.

“Our educational environment nurtures the whole child – mind, body and soul – into becoming a saint and scholar,” said Feltner, quoting the school’s motto of Saints and Scholars, which emphasizes St. Peter’s commitment to supporting the spiritual and intellectual growth of each child.

In addition, all paid staff, volunteers and anyone who interacts with children are trained to proactively recognize and safeguard students from bullying and abuse.

“Another positive aspect about our school is that decisions are made at the lowest level possible. Cumbersome, stifling bureaucracy simply does not exist,” said Feltner.

Today, during the school’s 25th year, the school is a vibrant, active campus and enrolls 103 Saints and Scholars in grades pre-K through sixth grade, with the seventh and eighth grades having moved to John Paul II High School in Okatie two school years ago.

Kim Morris, a third-grade teacher at St. Peter’s, recently received a sizable national grant to improve math fluency and assist students in mastering basic math skills. The school has also utilized the talents of the college students studying Computer Science at the Technical College of the Lowcountry, having them repair and update all of the school’s computers.

When it came time for their children to start school, John and Catherine Stephens of Beaufort felt St. Peter’s Elementary School was where their children would receive the best overall education.

In the two years their daughter, Laura, 5, has been enrolled, “we have been amazed at what she has learned about faith,” said her mother. “She says things out of the blue like, ‘Jesus wants us to help people when they are sick.’ ”

Catherine Stephens admits the tuition is a sacrifice, but surprisingly the tuition is a lot less than other private schools in the area.

But despite the successes the school has seen in its 25 years, Feltner has bigger plans she would like to see achieved.

“I would love to see our school continue to do more community outreach. There are many local organizations that would benefit from having our students share their talents,” she said, as she was getting some students ready to attend an outing to Morningside Assisted Living to sing for the senior citizens who live there.

To learn about enrollment and the tuition assistance available, contact Feltner at 843-522-2163 or visit

Students to make up 4 days in December

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After several members reconsidered their votes, the Beaufort County board of education changed course and decided to make up four of the eight instructional days lost to Hurricane Matthew by shortening winter break rather than by extending the first semester into January, according to a district release.

Full instructional days will now be held Monday, Dec. 19, through Wednesday, Dec. 21, with all schools operating on normal schedules.

Students will have a half-day on Thursday, Dec. 22, which will be the final day before winter break.

Students will return from winter break on Jan. 4.

Seven of the 10 board members participating in the meeting voted to make up four days in December, which was the option favored by school principals, by school district employees and district parents in a pair of online surveys, and by two advisory groups of high school students.

Board members who changed their votes said they were increasingly concerned about extending the first semester into mid-January, which would have created problems for high school students taking important end-of-course exams after winter break, seniors who planned to graduate early and begin college in early January, and high school students who planned to begin taking dual-credit college-level courses in early January.

Superintendent Jeff Moss said that school principals would work with parents and employees whose families have travel plans or schedule commitments for Dec. 19-22.

“We certainly understand the complications that may arise from this change, and any parents or employees with scheduling problems should contact their principals immediately,” Moss said.  “Our schools will be as flexible as they possibly can.”

South Carolina regulations covering minimum instructional time meant that the district had to find a way to restore a minimum of four days to the first semester so that high school students could meet their course requirements.

A total of eight school days were lost during Hurricane Matthew.  The board had already approved a waiver for three days, and the district expects to receive permission from the state board of education to waive up to three additional days.

With the board’s vote, key dates on the school year calendar now include:

• Nov. 23: Teacher workday, no school
• Dec. 15: High school end-of-course testing begins
• Dec. 22: Last day of classes (half day) before winter break; first semester ends
• Jan. 3: Teacher work day
• Jan. 4: Students return from winter break; second semester begins
• March 15: Third quarter ends
• May 26: Last day of school (half-day)
• May 26-June 3: High school graduation ceremonies:  May 26 for Whale Branch Early College High; May 30 for Hilton Head Island High; May 31 for Bluffton High; June 1 for Battery Creek High; June 2 for Beaufort High; and June 3 for May River High.

School briefs for November 10th-16th

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Photo above: Beaufort Academy’s Langdon Taylor and Vann Hefner have been nominated to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum, Pathways to STEM, an envision program to be held next summer. Both Langdon and Vann will be attending the program the week of July 23-28 in Atlanta at Agnes Scott College. NYLF Pathways to STEM is a unique learning experience for bright, forward-thinking elementary and middle school students who will evolve into next-generation innovators, engineers, doctors, software developers and scientists.

River Ridge students take part in litter pickup

A group of students from River Ridge Academy participated in a litter pickup day on Bluffton Parkway as part of the school’s partnership with Keep Beaufort County Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful Inc.

River Ridge Academy students made a commitment to remove litter from Bluffton Parkway four times per year through the Keep Beaufort County Beautiful Adopt-A-Highway program.

“We are so proud of the students for their commitment to their community,” said Caroline Jordan, Keep Beaufort County Beautiful coordinator.

The partnership’s success comes in two parts – the students are able to learn about community service and civic engagement, and the parkway remains litter-free and safe for Beaufort County residents.

To get involved with Keep Beaufort County Beautiful, call 843-255-2734.


Student of the Week – November 10th

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Karen Grandos
Grade: 11
School: Bluffton High School

Karen Grandos, an 11th grader at Bluffton High School, is this week’s Student of the Week.

She was nominated by English III teacher Nicole Starling.

“Karen is always prepared for class, helps her peers and works really hard each day to push herself beyond average work,” said Starling. “She doesn’t settle for less or rush through her work.

“People don’t always recognize that the all-star student doesn’t have to be someone who is involved in everything, but students like Karen make me happy to be a teacher,” said Starling. “She’s genuine and gets overlooked but deserves for people to know how amazing and appreciated she truly is. She helps her family a lot, which is a huge priority and huge reason she doesn’t have time for so many school activities. I find that admirable.”

Grandos took a few minutes recently to answer some questions:

Q: What’s your favorite subject and why?

A: My favorite subject is English because I see it as another way to express and reveal my feelings and thoughts.

Q: What are some of your accomplishments? 

A: I have a job working at Aunt Annie’s Pretzels, which makes me feel proud. I also feel proud of helping my mom and dad raise my sisters to be good daughters and people, which is important in life.

Q: Who do you admire and why? 

A: I admire my family. They’re very supportive and understanding when it comes to my decisions. My sisters keep me happy by watching them grow.

Beaufort Academy prepares students for the future

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If you are reading this with your own high school education deep in the rearview mirror, then you will remember that when we were in school there were not very many choices.

Schools were created in the industrial age and modeled after factories: We put the youngest students in on one end of the building and they came out of the other end older, larger and with
more brain power.

Curricula were fairly prescriptive: We learned to read in the first grade, to multiply in the second grade, state history somewhere in the middle grades, biology in ninth grade and trigonometry at some point that most of us would rather forget.

In the end, this form of education served us fairly well.

We were able to succeed in college if we so chose and we were able to succeed in the workplace.

We now know that our education also stamped out most of the creativity and original thinking that we once possessed.

Thankfully, the educational world has advanced, and we are faced with quite the buffet of options today.

There are many terms that describe different types of education these days: Paideia, Classical, Montessori, Experiential, STEM, and on and on.  All of these terms represent legitimate and potentially rigorous academic environments.

At Beaufort Academy, the form of educating children is harder to describe with a single term or methodology.

It delivers an educational experience that is broad, robust and challenging for all of the students.

The school recognizes that each of us learns in a unique way and with unique skills and unique hurdles to cross.

If you walked the halls of Beaufort Academy classroom buildings and peeked into multiple classes over the course of the day, you would see techniques that could be used in any one of the environments listed above.

The goal is to prepare the students for their future, not for the past.  Part of that goal is to produce students who have learned in multiple ways and who are able to understand different perspectives and a variety of points of view.

The school has Paideia-style discussions, traditional lectures, experiential opportunities and many other educational practices.

Through this multifaceted approach, it can reach every student and provide each student with the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.

In its small classes, educators are able to know and understand each child, and are able to guide them educationally, morally and socially to be prepared for their next step in life.

That next step may be first grade or a large university, but in any case, Beaufort Academy will have aimed to prepare them well for all that is in front of them.

In addition to the usual five subject core academic offerings, it teaches computer coding and critical thinking to grades 1-9; offers a range of seven Advanced Placement courses to upper school students; and takes advantage of the area in which we live and allows its students to experience the Lowcountry by visiting area attractions and by engaging members of the community to come to the school and share ideas and experiences.

Additionally, it allows students to express creativity through various art, drama and creative writing classes.

Beaufort Academy is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools and is accredited by the Southern Association of Independent Schools. It is the only school in Northern Beaufort County that belongs to these organizations, and it takes pride in studying and following their guidelines for best practices in developing a rich and rewarding educational experience in the classroom and beyond.

Attorney seeks theological degree

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Why would a partner in a prominent Lowcountry law firm put a successful law career on hold in order to pursue a post-graduate diploma in theology at the University of Oxford?

For Alan Runyan, a partner at Speights & Runyan in Beaufort, it was no easy decision. But in the end, it was a logical conclusion to 20 years of theological self-study and the realization that now was the time to seek something more “official.”

And so he traded the paneled courtrooms of American jurisprudence for the hallowed halls of one of England’s most prestigious universities. Oxford traces its heritage back to 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world.

To earn his post graduate diploma, Runyan had to choose three “papers” from among 30 offered in the theology program. A “paper” is similar to a course. He chose Christian Moral Reasoning, Philosophy of Religion and Science and Religion.

The coursework is very demanding. In each course students attend a weekly lecture, read 700 to 1,000 pages of specified material, then prepare a weekly essay of 2,500 words. The student then discusses the essay with a tutor in the field.

“One must be motivated,” Runyan said, “as reading/research and essay writing are all self-directed and attendance at lectures is voluntary.”

The last term will conclude in June 2017 with a three-hour examination in each paper.

The Beaufort lawyer sees many parallels between his present course of study and the curriculum at Holy Trinity Classical Christian School in Beaufort, where he spearheaded the Farrell & Elizabeth Runyan Raise Up a Child campaign.

Having served as a board of trustee member, he is currently serving as a member of Holy Trinity board of governors.

“The English tutorial system, in my opinion, is one of the few systems in contemporary culture specifically designed to teach students how to think; in particular, how to communicate a logical argument in both written and oral formats,” he said. “Of course, it is not necessarily ‘Christian,’ as I define that term, but it is certainly classical in its higher forms.”

School briefs for November 3rd-9th

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Photo above: Each month several Bluffton Middle School students are selected by their teachers as “Mustangs of the Month” based upon overall student performance and following the Mustang Path by demonstrating responsibility, academic excellence, respect and honesty. Mustangs of the Months are recognized at a special monthly ceremony hosted by Principal Pat Freda and Assistant Principals Beth Bournias and Steven Schidrich. The Mustangs for October 2016 are, from left back row, Diana Anaya, Alisyn Zigelstein, Cristofer Cano, James Marler, Freda and Hanna Heun. In the front row are Luis Rojas Matkovic, Brian Sanchez, Tien Nguyen, Jones Saylor and David Tucker.

Samantha Wood’s third-grade class read the most minutes during the school’s Red Ribbon Week Read-a-thon.
Samantha Wood’s third-grade class read the most minutes during the school’s Red Ribbon Week Read-a-thon.
Hannah Murphy’s kindergarten class was honored for being all “Red Out” for Red Ribbon Week.
Hannah Murphy’s kindergarten class was honored for being all “Red Out” for Red Ribbon Week.

M.C. Riley celebrates Red Ribbon Week

Students at Michael C. Riley celebrated Red Ribbon Week from Oct. 24-28 with the theme “I Have the Power to Be Drug Free.”

Red Ribbon Week is celebrated each year as students take an active stand against drugs. Students participated in activities throughout the school, including a school-wide read-a-thon and dressing in red.

Spanish-speaking parents invited to schools meeting

District Superintendent Jeff Moss has added an additional town hall meeting to the 2016 fall cycle that will focus on Spanish-speaking parents.

At a 6 p.m. town hall meeting at Bluffton Middle School on Thursday, Nov. 3, services will be provided to translate parents’ questions and Moss’ responses to those questions.

One out of every four of the Beaufort County School District’s 22,000 students is Hispanic.

Achievements, challenges spotlighted State of the Schools breakfast

More than 100 community members, business and government representatives, elected officials, board of education members, educators and students were briefed recently on the status of Beaufort County’s public schools at the district’s annual State of the Schools breakfast.

Superintendent Jeff Moss pointed to significant achievements in 2016, including improvements in student achievement that he attributed to the hard work of district educators.

“Our teachers and administrators know that in their classrooms, there are potential Nobel Prize winners,” Moss said.  “They know that in their classrooms are tomorrow’s leaders.”

District achievements highlighted at the 2016 State of the Schools breakfast included:

• The district’s on-time high school graduation rate – the percentage of students who earn a diploma “on time” in four years – has improved for six consecutive years and is now at an all-time high.

• Graduating seniors in the Class of 2016 earned $30.9 million in college scholarships, an all-time high.

• The district’s average SAT score has improved by 61 points over the past five years, and African-American seniors have reduced the achievement gap with white seniors by improving their scores by 87 points while white students improved by 30 points.

• Fifty-five percent of high school students taking Advanced Placement courses scored high enough to qualify for college credit in 2016, an all-time high for the district.  In addition, the number of students completing college-level courses while still in high school has increased from 308 to 532 in just two years.

• National publications rank two district high schools among South Carolina’s best. Hilton Head Island High is ranked No. 5 in South Carolina by U.S. News and World Report, and Bluffton High is ranked No. 7. In addition, Hilton Head Island High ranked No. 6 in South Carolina and Bluffton High No. 12 in The Washington Post’s annual listing of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools.”

• The district has created “schools of choice” in all buildings, meaning that parents can apply to send their children to any academic program at any school in district, regardless of where they live. More than 2,300 students are taking advantage of the opportunity this school year.

• The Connect2Learn program has put a mobile computer in the hands of every student in grades K-12.

• The district has added 260 full-day pre-kindergarten slots, which has allowed schools to reduce or even eliminate waiting lists of at-risk children who need focused attention before they start classes.  The district won the Champions for Children Award from the Institute of Child Success for its efforts to improve early childhood education.

• The district is dramatically expanding career and technology courses designed to prepare students for high-paying jobs and industry certifications in rapidly emerging fields. Two new high-tech facilities are at Battery Creek High and May River High.

Moss also noted significant challenges that district educators face.

“There are achievement gaps, here in Beaufort County and around the nation, he said. “We also have students arriving in our schools who speak no English at all, and that’s also a significant challenge for teachers.  We have to do a much better job of making the teaching profession attractive and making it pay well enough so that we can attract students from colleges and universities.”

Shealy lands on Dean’s List at GSU

Georgia Southern University recently recognized nearly 200 students on the Summer 2016 semester Dean’s List.

Brittany Shealy of Bluffton has been named to the list for excellence in academics. To be eligible for the Dean’s List, a student must have at least a 3.5 grade point average and carry a minimum of 12 hours for the semester.

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 125 degree programs serving approximately 20,500 students.

Bluffton board members to meet with public

Beaufort County School District board of education members representing Bluffton will hold a town hall meeting to hear from their constituents.

Board members Evva Anderson (District 7), Laura Bush (District 9), Mary Cordray (District 8) and Paul Roth (District 6) will meet with interested constituents from 6-7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 7, at the Bluffton Town Hall, located at 20 Bridge St. in Bluffton.

Included in both meetings will be informational presentations on the 1-penny Educational Capital Improvement Sales and Use Tax Referendum placed on the Nov. 8 general election ballot for consideration by local voters.

Lentz participates in Math Jeopardy

More than 20 cadets from majors across The Citadel’s campus competed for the title of 2016 Math Jeopardy Champions recently. Cadets solved problems from calculus, differential equations and linear algebra among other topics. Brian Lentz, of Beaufort, participated in the 2016 Citadel Math Jeopardy Competition.

Holy Trinity builds classical library

Librarian Barbara Hathaway reads a Shakespearean play with Holy Trinity third-graders Cady O'Connell and Molleigh Reaves.
Librarian Barbara Hathaway reads a Shakespearean play with Holy Trinity third-graders Cady O’Connell and Molleigh Reaves.

A classical school should have a classical library. But what should it look like?

Shortly before it opened in August 2011, the Holy Trinity Classical Christian School accepted the challenge of building a classical library from scratch. With the support of a generous anonymous gift, school administrators and faculty began accumulating books, bookcases and busts and statues of prominent figures in world history who would inspire young readers.

There was Shakespeare, Thomas Jefferson, Socrates, Benjamin Franklin, Plato and Aristotle, for example, all donated by grateful parents and enthusiastic faculty members. They took up positions alongside maps of Greece, donated by a trustee, and bookshelves brimming with hundreds of classical favorites: “Little Women,” “Anne of Green Gables,” “Stuart Little,” “Pilgrims Progress,” “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” and books on Greek, Norse and Roman myths.

Today, the school library boasts an enviable collection of nearly 3,000 volumes. In addition to the classics, there are books on virtually every element of science: trees, insects, birds, animals, vertebrates, the planets, physical science, physics and chemistry.

Given the focus on a classical Christian education at Holy Trinity, it’s little wonder that two of the library’s most popular titles would be: “Quomodo Invidiosulus Nomine Grinchus Christi Natalem Abrogaveril” and “Cattus Petasatus,” both by Dr. Seuss. You may be forgiven if you don’t recognize “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “The Cat in the Hat” in Latin.

“To open a book to an eager child is the keenest joy my heart can know,” said Barbara Hathaway, Holy Trinity’s volunteer professional librarian.

Hathaway said the school employs a rigorous selection process for determining which books to add to the school library. To qualify, a book must reflect the finest classical fiction and nonfiction. It must aid in building reading skills while assisting students in building a Biblical worldview. It must inspire a passion and a respect for the love of learning and reading the great novels, poetry, stories and nonfiction. And, finally, it must support the curriculum.

“Books open students’ minds to the world of knowledge in an environment that cherishes and embraces the written word in book form,” said the Rev. Chad E. Lawrence, the school headmaster.

School briefs for October 27th-November 2nd

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Top photo: Holy Trinity students took first place in the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) One-Act Regional Drama Competition held Oct. 19. Performing an act of “The Pilgrim’s Progress” written and adapted by Holy Trinity teacher, Elizabeth Booman, the team had a delightful experience and will represent Holy Trinity at the state competition in November. 

Instructional materials available for review

The public is invited to review textbooks and instructional materials that have been proposed for use in South Carolina’s public schools.

The materials will be recommended to the State Board of Education for adoption on Dec. 13 by review panels appointed by the board.

The instructional materials will be on display at 20 colleges and universities throughout the state through Monday, Nov. 21.

In Beaufort County, they can be reviewed at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort Library, located at 8 East Campus Drive in Bluffton.

Instructions for submitting comments are available at USCB and the 19 other libraries, and State Board of Education members will review citizens’ comments before making a final decision on adopting the materials.

In addition to the display sites around the state, digital access is available online at:

Junior leaders chosen at Beaufort Middle

Beaufort Middle School recently announced the 2016-2017 class of Junior Leadership Beaufort.

They are Austin Hannah, Colin Peterson, Danyelle Bethea, Elissa Hooper, Elizabeth Gray, Ellie Ashmore, Emma Weltz, Esasha Frazier, Trinity Myers, Summer Pozas, Sullivan Jordan, Shelby Rasmussen, Savannah Watson, Rylee Hill, Rowan Jones, Payton Miller, Myra Smith, Myca Bradley, Kristin Burke, Kevona Young, Hannah Merchant, Jaylen Bordeaux and Katelyn Ashmore.

The Junior Leadership Beaufort program at Beaufort Middle School introduces eighth-graders to the ways and means of their community.

Modeled after Beaufort’s Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program and sponsored by Sea Island Rotary Club, Junior Leadership Beaufort extends learning far beyond classroom walls.

Members learn firsthand and on-site about Beaufort’s environment, economy, military, government and hospital system and then they create a year-end presentation documenting their findings, from their perspective, to deliver to the Sea Island Rotary.

Teachers Holly Lambert and Jennifer Rentz serve as advisors for Junior Leadership Beaufort.

Bridges Prep to send 13 students to China

Even as 13 Bridges Prep students prepare to visit China in November, others are signing up to visit Greece during the next school year.

To add to the international study excitement at Bridges, other new teacher exchange partnerships have been inked for Italy and Scotland.

“All in all, it is critically important for our kids and staff to develop a deep understanding and appreciation for other cultures and regions of the world,” said Dr. Nick Ithomitis, head of school at Bridges Prep.

“Our kids and staff need to be global citizens, but they also need to understand and appreciate the advantages we have as Americans.”

Thirteen Bridges students, three Bridges teachers and Ithomitis will travel to Beijing, China, for a weeklong tour.

Ithomitis will be a key presenter on Core Values at a major educational forum. Meanwhile, the students and teachers will see the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Olympic Stadium, visit a Chinese school and participate in cultural activities.

In November 2017, Ithomitis will lead another group of students and teachers on a two-week tour of Greece. The group will tour Athens, Thessaloniki and Metsovo.

Bridges Preparatory School was chartered by South Carolina in mid-2012 and opened at near capacity in August 2013. Since then, enrollment has grown steadily to this year’s 500-plus students. This year, Bridges Prep expanded to the ninth grade and will continue to grow the high school.

To learn more about Bridges Preparatory School, visit or call 843-982-7737.

Local WVU alumni award first scholarship

The West Virginia University Palmetto Chapter of Alumni and Friends has awarded its first scholarship to a graduate student in WVU’s College of Business and Economics.

Daniel Moscar, of Hilton Head, is pursuing a degree in the executive Master of Business Administration program at WVU. He graduated from Walden University in 2015 with a degree in business administration, and is currently employed by the Heritage Golf Group as the general manager of Oyster Reef Golf Club and Palmetto Hall Plantation Club.

“I was extremely surprised and very grateful for the scholarship,” Moscar said. “I can’t thank the chapter enough.”

The Palmetto Chapter scholarship is a $1,000 award that benefits a student from Beaufort or Jasper counties who meets WVU’s guidelines for satisfactory academic progress.

Anyone interested in joining the chapter may visit for more information.

M.C. Riley names character ed student

Elijah Hudson has been named the Character Education Student of the Month for September at M.C. Riley School.

Each grade level nominates its top representative and a school-wide representative is selected.

The character trait for the month of September was “Acceptance”.

When thinking of acceptance, Hudson comes to mind twofold.

“He models acceptance without barriers. He can easily and appropriately approach a familiar or unfamiliar student within the school and with his few words, can make his message clear. There have been many situations where Elijah escorts people into the special education classroom, eagerly wanting them to join,” according to a school release.

Scott accepting applications for spring 2017 internships

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-SC, is accepting congressional internship applications for available positions in his Washington D.C., North Charleston, Columbia and Greenville offices for the spring of 2017.

The internship program offers undergraduate and graduate students practical experience in constituent services, the legislative process, government policy and press.

The internship provides students with the ability to work with and learn from public service professionals. All internships are unpaid, but students will learn invaluable work experience and skills throughout their internship that will help them gain a better understanding of how their government functions.

Interested South Carolina students should contact the internship coordinator at or call 202-224-6121.

Student of the Week – October 27th

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Carlos D. Duque
Grade: 11/12
School: Bluffton High School

Bluffton High teacher Laura Pirkey nominated Carlos D. Duque as Student of the Week because “he is very enthusiastic about learning psychology, science and medicine and wants to become a doctor so he can help others have a better life. This student has a big heart is dedicated to helping those in our community.

“During the Z Club supply drive for Hope Haven, Carlos bought two bags of stuffed animals with his own money to donate to children in need.  This was exceptionally generous. He said didn’t mind spending the money because he really wanted to do something to help kids that suffer from abuse.

“His goal is to be a doctor. I believe he will be a great doctor because he is highly motivated, intelligent, scholarly and truly cares about others.  He is very inquisitive about the medical field and works very hard to do well in school. Carlos Duque is an excellent choice for Student of the Week.”

Duque took a few minutes recently to answer some questions:

Q: What’s your favorite subject and why?

A: Well, there is something about science that just captivates me more than anything. It started when I first took biology, finding out so much about the human body and life itself just sparked a huge interest.

Q: What are some of your accomplishments?

A: To me I have yet to make any great accomplishments because I want to be able to travel the world and give medical attention to those who aren’t as fortunate to have it right around the corner. My accomplishments will be seen when I start changing lives and saving them as well. That is an accomplishment to me and I am going to give it all I have to be able to do that one day.

Q: What clubs and activities are you involved in? 

A: I did Interact Club where we would help clean up the community as well as helping others in events set up or cleanup.

Q: Who do you admire and why?

A:  To me, my one and only will always be my mom. She was a single mom of two at a young age and played the role of my father and my mother for both me and my sister. She stayed there, cared for me and gave it all she had. She was strong even when she couldn’t be just to make sure my sister and I were well fed and taken care of. I wouldn’t be the man I am today if it wasn’t for my mom. I will always be proud of her and I hope one day I get the chance to return the favor and give her all she has given me.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do outside of school? 

A: I recently started modeling for an agency in Savannah and I’ve been taking classes with them, etc. So far it’s an amazing experience being able to become more confident in yourself and be able to show people what you are made of.

Q: What’s your favorite movie?

A: “Ride Along.” That movie was absolutely amazing.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?

A: “American Horror Story” is a very good show as well as “Narcos.”

Q: What’s your favorite music?

A: I like rap like Drake, Future, Kendrick Lamar, Logic, J Cole, etc. But I also tend to listen to classical music maybe a piano solo or a cello as well.

School briefs for October 20th-26th

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Top photo: Beaufort Elementary teachers and staff helped feed students affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Some Beaufort Academy students and families took time to help others clean up debris from the recent storm. “We are incredibly proud of our students for lending a hand in a time of need,” according to a school release.
Some Beaufort Academy students and families took time to help others clean up debris from the recent storm. “We are incredibly proud of our students for lending a hand in a time of need,” according to a school release.

Beaufort school staff help families affected by storm

Beaufort Elementary School’s teachers and staff organized an effort to get food to students and families in downtown Beaufort who were affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Principal Melissa Holland said that school staff had used their personal vehicles to ferry MREs and water from county distribution points to apartment complexes where many families of Beaufort Elementary School live.

Those families had no power in their apartments and no transportation to purchase food.

In addition, St. Helena Episcopal Church prepared hot meals that were distributed tonight at Parkview Apartments by Beaufort Elementary staff.

After finishing up at Parkview Apartments, the Beaufort Elementary folks moved over to the school’s parking lot several blocks away and met a Red Cross truck, and there they distributed about 300 hot meals to people who passed by in their cars.

“I’m so proud of our staff,” Holland said. “The way they put everything together and got it done was amazing. They were just awesome.”

Dollar General gives grant to United Way

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently awarded United Way of the Lowcountry a $4,000 grant to support youth literacy.

This local 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.

Education is one of United Way of the Lowcountry’s four priority areas of focus as they make the shift to Community Impact to get to the root causes of key issues in the community and bring lasting change.

United Way of the Lowcountry’s Early Grade Reading Program, Read Indeed, is a K-3 reading tutor program, designed to help students read on grade level by the time they enter fourth grade.

United Way of the Lowcountry started the Early Grade Reading Program in 2012 and has expanded it over the years.  With the help of 200-300 volunteers and AmeriCorps members, Read Indeed helps hundreds of students in nine schools throughout Beaufort and Jasper counties.

United Way partners with the Beaufort County School District, Jasper County School District, University of South Carolina Beaufort, AmeriCorps, as well as a number of public-private partnerships and foundations for the Read Indeed Program.

“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.  The Dollar General Literacy Foundation awards grants each year to nonprofit organizations, schools and libraries within a 20-mile radius of a Dollar General store or distribution center to support adult, family, summer and youth literacy programs.

Free workshops offered on financial aid

The Beaufort County School District is sponsoring a pair of free workshops for parents on how to help finance their children’s college educations.

The primary target audience is parents of high school seniors and juniors.  About 300 parents attended last year’s sessions.

The first workshop will be held from 6-7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, in Bluffton High School’s Performing Arts Center.

An identical workshop will be held from 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Beaufort High School’s Performing Arts Center.

Presenters will include representatives from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, the South Carolina Tuition Grants Commission, the University of South Carolina at Beaufort, the Technical College of the Lowcountry, South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, Scholarships for Military Families, the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry and Vocational Rehabilitation, Scholarships and Grants.

Presenters will cover the basics of applying for financial aid, including FAFSA and the CSS Profile. Information also will be presented on local, state and national grants, loans and scholarship opportunities.

District students outperform state averages

Beaufort County School District high school students outperformed their peers from across South Carolina on two key statewide exams during the 2015-16 school year, according to data released recently by the South Carolina Department of Education.

The data released covered two exams that all South Carolina 11th-graders are required to take: the ACT college entrance exam and the WorkKeys exam that allows students to earn “portable certificates” that can be used to qualify for jobs. The 2016 scores marked the second year of data for both exams.

“It’s encouraging to see our students again score above the state average, but we still have a lot of work to do,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss. “We want our students to be among South Carolina’s top performers and among the nation’s top performers. We also want to maintain the district’s positive momentum in student achievement. Our students and educators are working hard to do that.”

In the second year of South Carolina’s required statewide administration of ACT college entrance exams to all 11th-graders, Beaufort County students improved their overall scores and outperformed their peers from across the state.

District 11th-graders exceeded state averages in four of five subject areas measured by the ACT and tied in the fifth. District 11th-graders’ ACT average composite score was 18.3 compared to the state average of 18.2.  Beaufort County 11th-graders’ composite score ranked them 17th among South Carolina’s 82 school districts.

Comparing 2016 scoring with 2015’s first year of required testing for all 11th-graders, Beaufort County students improved their average score from 18.2 to 18.3.

South Carolina requires all 11th-graders to take WorkKeys exams each spring, and students who post qualifying scores earn “portable” certificates at the Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum levels that can be used to qualify for good-paying jobs anywhere in the nation. Increasing numbers of businesses require job applicants to have WorkKeys certificates.

Among Beaufort County 11th-graders, 87.6 percent scored high enough to earn a certificate, compared to 86.8 percent of 11th-graders statewide.

That marked a slight decrease from the first year of WorkKeys testing, which saw 90.2 percent of district 11th-graders score high enough to earn a certificate compared to 87.9 percent statewide.

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