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BA student named the 2018 Thomas H. Horton Jr. Scholarship recipient

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Pictured from above left to right: Michelle Onoff, Julian Alicknavitch, and Beaufort Academy Head of School, Dr. Dan Durbin. Photo provided.

Beaufort Academy and the Thomas H. Horton, Jr. Memorial Scholarship committee announced the 13th annual scholarship recipient, junior Julian Alicknavitch, son of Michelle Onoff and Victor Alicknavitch.

Tom Horton was a beloved teacher and coach at Beaufort Academy for 23 years.  In 2003, Mr. Horton passed away, leaving a legacy behind at the school. His family established the Thomas H. Horton Jr. Memorial Scholarship in 2004 to memorialize his life, and commemorate his contributions to the development of the minds and characters of students.

Due to Mr. Horton’s love of travel, the scholarship is designated to give Beaufort Academy students a chance to participate in a summer study abroad program. Julian, the 2018 recipient, inspired to see a different part of the world from someone else’s point of view, will be planning on visiting Peru, where he will be taken to Cusco into the Andes Mountains where their group stays in a native village.  He will be studying the history of this civilization, how they lived, how they grew their food in the high altitudes, and how they lived their daily lives.

During the last 12 years, the scholarship has allowed recipients the chance to study abroad in a variety of locations including England, Italy, Scotland, Switzerland, Spain, France, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

Diana Price named Bridges Prep Teacher of the Year

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Photo above: Bridges Prep Teacher of the Year Diana Price surprised with flowers and balloons Tuesday with (l-r) Board of Director member Tom Angelo, Board Chair Dee Matthew, Diana Price, and Chris Wilson.

Diana Price, an experienced science teacher in her first year at Bridges Prep, brings determination and compassion to the classroom – and now she brings the title of Bridges Prep Teacher of the Year.

Members of the Bridges Prep Board of Directors, Interim Head of School Chris Wilson and Interim Assistant Head of School Dr. Sherri Herbst surprised Price in the Upper School lunchroom last week with the award.

“Diana Price finds ways to connect with each student, and she works hard to make sure each student learns something in her classroom, even if science isn’t their strong suit,” Board Chair Dee Matthews said. “It’s a special gift and we are so pleased to have her at Bridges.”

As Bridges Prep’s Teacher of the Year, Price’s next step will be to submit paperwork for the S.C. Charter School District statewide Teacher of the Year. Her teaching peers at Bridges Prep voted her as the school’s Teacher of the Year.

“From her first week in the Upper School at Bridges, we could all tell we had something special in her,” Wilson said. “We expect more great things from her and from all her students because of the magic in her classroom.”

Price earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a Master’s of Science in biological sciences at Clemson University.

“I recognize that all of my students are at different levels in their learning,” Price said. “Some are great speakers, others are talented at designing things, and some are clever with numbers. I have a duty to all students as they enter my classroom to recognize their potential, embrace their strengths, and work on developing their weaknesses.

“It is my end goal,” she said, “that all of my students I have the honor to teach leave my classroom knowing three significant things: They are capable, they are loved, and they should never stop learning.”

A deep desire to be close to the ocean motivated her and her husband to move to Beaufort, she said. At Beaufort High, she taught Anatomy & Physiology Honors, Anatomy & Physiology College Preparatory, and Principles of Biomedical Sciences. 

Price joined Bridges Prep in 2017. At Bridges, she teaches Earth Science, Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, and STEM. She is bringing the National Honor Society to Bridges and jumped into the role of treasurer for the Bridges Parent Teacher Organization.

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

Battery Creek FFA team recognized

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Members of the Battery Creek Future Farmers of America (FFA) Chapter traveled to Georgetown, SC, on Saturday, February 3, to compete in the state Wildlife Career Development Event.

These development events build on what is learned in agricultural classes and encourage students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of wildlife conservation and management, plant identification, and basic management practices for native wildlife species.

Battery Creek FFA team placed sixth in the event with team members Amanda Taylor, Maggie Holm, Delainee Roberts, and Zoe Wills. Beth Ann Melton is the agriculture teacher and FFA advisor for the Battery Creek chapter.

The event was sponsored and hosted by Horry-Georgetown Technical College.

The South Carolina FFA Association has more than 7,000 members across the state with the mission to develop leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.

2018 Wildlife Team
2018 Wildlife Team

Chilling at annual Chilly Bean Run

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Photo above: Several participants in the Chilly Bean Run brought their dogs. This boy’s pup seemed to be ready to get things in high gear at the start of the race on Lady’s Island. Photos by Bob Sofaly.

The Annual Chilly Bean Run attracted more than 300 runners last Saturday on Lady’s Island.
The Annual Chilly Bean Run attracted more than 300 runners last Saturday on Lady’s Island.

More than 300 runners showed up for Beaufort Academy’s Fifth Annual Chilly Bean Run fundraiser on Coosaw Point on Lady’s Island on Saturday, Feb. 3 from South Carolina and Georgia for the certified 5K and 10K races. There were also fun races with pets involved, and the post-race party featured chili, live music and craft beer. A portion of this year’s race will also benefit CAPA in Beaufort.

Michelle Hiers proudly displays her participation medal for finishing the run. Hiers said she completed her 5K run in 33 minutes.
Michelle Hiers proudly displays her participation medal for finishing the run. Hiers said she completed her 5K run in 33 minutes.
Mandy Burgin, co-chairperson of the Fifth Annual Chilly Bean Run, makes sure there is plenty of bottled water and fresh fruit for the runners.
Mandy Burgin, co-chairperson of the Fifth Annual Chilly Bean Run, makes sure there is plenty of bottled water and fresh fruit for the runners.
Lead guitarist Tim Devine, left, of the Machete Flats Blues Quartet picks a tune while the rest of the band — Steve Aldred, drums; Adam “Sushi” Graynade, bass; and Kirk Dempsey, guitar — joins in.
Lead guitarist Tim Devine, left, of the Machete Flats Blues Quartet picks a tune while the rest of the band — Steve Aldred, drums; Adam “Sushi” Graynade, bass; and Kirk Dempsey, guitar — joins in.
It wouldn’t be a Chili Bean Cookoff without the chili. Here, Ozzy Quintanilla, gets a sample of from volunteer Ashley Lyda while Tammy Gates, left, cleans up a spill.
It wouldn’t be a Chili Bean Cookoff without the chili. Here, Ozzy Quintanilla, gets a sample of from volunteer Ashley Lyda while Tammy Gates, left, cleans up a spill.

Groundbreaking ceremony held for gym, arts center

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School officials, students and community members today celebrated the beginning of construction on a new performing arts center and a new competition gymnasium at Whale Branch Early College High School.

Speakers included Board of Education Chair Earl Campbell and Beaufort County Councilman Gerald Dawson, who represent parents and community members in the high school’s attendance zone.

“We’re very excited,” said Principal Mona Lise Dickson.  “This is a great day for the entire community because all of our students – not just high school students but also elementary and middle school students – will benefit from these new facilities.”

Since Whale Branch Early College High opened in 2011, its four basketball teams have practiced and played their interscholastic games in one small gymnasium, leading to practices that lasted well into the night.  Wrestling matches were also held in that gym, leading to shortened or cancelled basketball practices. Today Whale Branch is the only high school in Beaufort County that doesn’t have a competition and a practice gym.

Whale Branch also is the only district high school that does not have a performing arts-style auditorium for student performances and classes.  Parents and community supporters had urged the district to build the addition since the high school opened six years ago.

Sophomore Xavier Pierce, who made several appearances at Board of Education meetings to advocate for the new facilities, was particularly excited at today’s ceremony.

“It took a whole community coming together to make this happen,” Pierce said.  “The outcome of this will be great.”

Superintendent Jeff Moss stressed the long-term positive impact of the additions.

“What will be built here will be a brick-and-mortar building,” Moss said.  “But what will ultimately make it successful will be the students and educators who work here
every day.”

District officials said their goal is to open the new competition gymnasium before the end of the 2018 basketball season and its accompanying playoffs.  They hope to open the performing arts center in spring 2019.

Student athletes meet academic requirements

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Nearly all Beaufort County School District student athletes in fall and winter sports for the current school year met the district’s academic participation requirements.

Ninety-seven percent of Beaufort County’s high school student athletes and 95 percent of middle school student athletes maintained their academic eligibility by meeting the district’s minimum 2.0 GPA participation requirement.  Beaufort County is one of only two South Carolina districts that require a 2.0 minimum (a C average) to participate on athletics teams.

Of 1,068 high school athletes in the district, 1,031 met the academic requirement during the first two academic quarters and 37 did not.  Of 486 middle school athletes, 461 met the requirement and 25 did not. 

The overall district-wide GPA for high school student athletes for the first two academic quarters of the 2017-18 academic year was 4.07.  The overall district-wide GPA for middle school student athletes for the first two academic quarters of the 2017-18 academic year was 3.56. 

“Beaufort County decided several years ago to raise the bar for our student athletes, and they have responded in terrific fashion,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss.  “They have absolutely met the challenge set by the Board of Education, and they have ensured that they will continue to succeed after they leave high school and possibly pursue college scholarships.”

High school cross country, golf, swimming, tennis and volleyball teams all maintained GPAs higher than 4.0.  Middle school volleyball teams maintained a GPA higher than 4.0.

Districtwide, 275 middle school athletes were honored as Academic All-Stars for earning GPA’s higher than 3.5 (essentially a B-plus average) for the first two quarters.  At the high school level, 894 student athletes were honored as Academic All-Stars for the first two quarters.

After a series of community forums in 2011, the Board of Education approved the 2.0 GPA requirement for athletes. Only one other South Carolina district (Richland District 1 in Columbia) has a similar requirement.

Chief Auxiliary Services Officer Gregory McCord said that the district’s middle and high schools have after-school tutorial programs to assist students who are in danger of falling below the 2.0 requirement.  Interim reports, report card grades, teacher/sponsor recommendations and coaching staff requirements are used to identify students required to attend after-school programs.  McCord said that schools pay special attention to communicating the rules to student athletes and their parents. 

The South Carolina High School League’s statewide minimum GPA requirement is 1.0. 

School honors

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• The following area students have been named to the Dean’s List for Fall semester 2017 at Newberry College. Students receiving recognition on the Dean’s List at Newberry College had to achieve a grade point average of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale during the semester.

Cierra Negron of Beaufort

Jonathan Saullo of Beaufort

• The Citadel awarded Gold Stars to the following local cadets and students who achieved a 3.7 grade point average or higher during the 2017 fall semester. Cadets and students who achieve Gold Star recognition are also placed on The Citadel’s Dean’s List.

Robert Bowles of Beaufort

Adam Hannah of Beaufort

Sarah Kardohely of Beaufort

Joseph McCormick of Beaufort

• The following cadets and students were named to The Citadel’s Dean’s List for their academic achievements during the 2017 fall semester:

Michael Brister of Beaufort

Jordan Clegg of Beaufort

Carli Cline of Beaufort

David Lentz of Beaufort

Jakob Marsh of Beaufort

Nicholas Price of Beaufort

Brian Riddle of Beaufort

Amber Wilder of Beaufort

• Lauren Bowden, a native of Beaufort, SC received a BLS-Bachelor of Liberal Studies-Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree from the University of Iowa at the close of the fall 2017 semester.

Schools briefs for February 8th-14th

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School calendar for 2018-19 approved

The Beaufort County Board of Education has approved the district’s academic calendar for the 2018-19 school year. The first day for students will be Monday, August 20, 2018, and the final day of classes will be Friday, May 31, 2019. The 2018-19 calendar includes a two-week winter break, a preference indicated by parents and district employees in online surveys last year. 

Current state law mandates that no South Carolina public school can begin classes prior to the third Monday in August, which this year is August 20. Various staff development days are dispersed throughout the calendar, and three possible weather make-up are included: Wednesday, Nov. 21; Monday, June 3; and Tuesday, June 4.

Holiday dates with schools closed for students are Sept. 3 (Labor Day); Nov. 6 (Election Day) Nov. 21-23 (Thanksgiving); Dec. 24-Jan. 8, 2019 (winter break); Jan. 21, 2019 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day); February 21, 2019 (teacher work day); April 15-19, 2019 (spring break); and May 27, 2019 (Memorial Day).

Coastal foundation offering scholarships 

Coastal Community Foundation, a grant making organization serving coastal South Carolina, has opened 2018 applications for its scholarship programs, including the General Scholarship Program, Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program, and Rufus J. Barkley Jr. Leadership Scholarship Program. Awards from the General Scholarship Program range from $500-$2,000 for students residing in Berkeley, Charleston or Dorchester counties. Character, academic success, involvement in extra-curricular and community activities, financial need, academic success, aspirations and ability to overcome obstacles are all considered in scholarship applications, but selection criteria varies by award. The deadline for these scholarship applications is March 16. For more information, contact Caroline Mullis Rakar at or visit 

Superintendent’s town hall meetings to be held

Town hall meetings for parents and community members to meet with Beaufort County School District Superintendent Jeff Moss will be held throughout the spring.

“We welcome and encourage feedback from parents and community members, and our twice-yearly town hall meetings in each cluster provide productive forums for questions, discussions and sharing information,” Moss said.

The scheduled meetings are:

  • Feb. 13, 6 p.m., Battery Creek High School
  • Feb. 27, 6 p.m., Bluffton Middle School (Spanish-language meeting)
  • April 24, 6 p.m., Beaufort High School

School board issues apology statement

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The Beaufort County Board of Education released this statement from school board officials on Tuesday, Jan. 30 after photos posted on social media touched off outrage and controversy with parents and community members.

“The Beaufort County Board of Education apologizes that pictures depicting students dressed as Adolph Hitler and raising an arm in a Nazi salute were recently published on a school’s social media page. While the board is committed to ensuring the accurate and appropriate teaching of historical events and persons, we realize the posting of photographs and resulting comments touch on emotional and, for some, horrific, images, memories, and topics. Posting the photographs without the context of students’ projects, research, and historical input regarding Hitler’s crimes evidenced a lack of proper understanding of the emotions which may result from such images.”

Yesterday, the board officers requested a full review of this matter by the superintendent and relevant staff. We understand that Superintendent Jeff Moss and Okatie Elementary School Principal Jamie Pinckney met earlier today with Rabbi Brad Bloom. We appreciate Rabbi Bloom’s willingness to meet.

The board officers also asked Dr. Moss and staff to review and, if needed, shore up processes and protocols for similar events which may occur within BCSD schools. The board will receive follow up from Dr. Moss and Ms. Pinckney at its next regularly scheduled board meeting.”

According to local news reports, a photo of two fifth-grade boys dressed as Adolf Hitler was posted to the Okatie Elementary School Facebook page on Friday, Jan. 26, by Principal Jamie Pinckney. The photos have since been removed and the school issued an apology on Facebook on Monday, Jan. 29, that read: “It is not and was not our intent to sensationalize or glorify the acts of any of the dictators or public figures represented … History is not always pretty and nice but we hope by teaching our students about the past it is not repeated.”

The fifth grade at Okatie Elementary was participating in a “Wax Museum” project for Social Studies where students dress up as historical figures. Each student was given the assignment to select a person to research — some examples included Teddy Roosevelt ot Albert Einstein — and then the students dressed in costume and gave presentations to parents and teachers.

Fripp Island event donates to St. Helena Elementary School

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Photo above from left: Char Cormier and Sara’ Reynolds Green at Fripp Island Resort golf course.

This past year, St. Helena Elementary School was the recipient of the Fripp Island Resort Santa Scramble, a yearly charity event. The school’s Angel Tree Project was selected to receive a check in the amount of $800. The funds will be used to purchase school uniforms and school supplies. The check was presented to Mrs. Sara’ Reynolds Green, the project coordinator and Parent Liaison at St. Helena Elementary School, by Fripp Island Golf Director Char Cormier.  

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