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Holy Trinity appoints development team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

School briefs for April 6th-12th

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Bridges Prep among top ‘School of Distinction’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit or call 843-982-7737.

Holy Trinity talent show set for Friday, April 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women’s group sponsors program for STEM girls

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

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

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

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

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

Senior Scholars recognized at banquet

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

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

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

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

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

Local students win science fair awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Board of Education revises school calendar

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

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

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

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

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

Local students named to Dean’, Chancellor lists

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

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

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

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

Students honored at banquet as 2017 South Carolina Junior Scholars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Students from Northern Beaufort County who were honored include:

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

School briefs for March 30th-April 5th

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

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

Students participate in Girls On the Run

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

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

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

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

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

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

Students to perform original play

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Veteran executive selected as CFO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crosby replaces Phyllis White, who retired in December.   

Performing arts center coming to Whale Branch

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bus executive selected as transportation head

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

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

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

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

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

Home-schooled teens shine at forensics event

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

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

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

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

Region VIII includes Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shamrock Shakedown rocks

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Beaufort Academy hosted its annual Shamrock Shakedown at Beaufort Inn’s Tabby Place on March 17. The Shamrock Shakedown helps support BA operating budgets, tuition price breaks, faculty salary and other important items that take to run a private independent school. Photos by Ashley Rodgers Photography.

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Things add up at math night

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James Daniels + Kylie Jones

Family Math Night, a community-based effort to grow an interest in mathematics among youth, was held recently. Tutors use fun and engaging online lessons featuring Khan Academy. The event was hosted by McDonald’s of Beaufort, located at 2424 Boundary St., on March 14, which was also National Pi Day. It was planned by Technical College of the Lowcountry employees and students Aby Bandoh, Jordan Long and Phillip Taylor. Pictured are tutor and TCL math instructor James Daniels and student Kylie Jones. For information about future Math Nights, contact Aby Bandoh at

Rotary address

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Chelsea Roland (1)

Chelsea Roland, a former Rotary-sponsored youth exchange student, addressed the Rotary Club of Beaufort at its March 8 meeting. Roland spent her senior year of high school in Belgium, then attended the College of Charleston before being accepted as a Rotary Ambassador Global Scholar and attending graduate school in Vancouver, B.C. 

School briefs for March 16th-22nd

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Future Chef 2017-SLIDER

Photo above: Beaufort Elementary School fifth-grader Henry Lovett, center, reacts to being announced as the 2017 Future Chef winner. Photo provided.

Fifth-grader wins Future Chef contest

Fifth-grader Henry Lovett likes to cook eggs for his family’s breakfasts, and that practice paid off when he took top honors at the 2017 Sodexo Future Chef competition.

The Beaufort Elementary School student’s “Spicy Egg Wrap” recipe included fresh avocados, tomatoes, cheese and sriracha wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla.

Lovett was one of 12 elementary school student finalists from across the district who prepared healthy comfort foods – this year’s competition category – for a panel of five judges at the new Advanced Technical Center at Battery Creek High School.  

Judges awarded points based on the recipes’ originality, taste, healthy attributes, plate presentation, ease of preparation and kid-friendliness. 

“It was so much fun to cook in front of a big crowd of people and present to the judges,” Lovett said. “Just awesome.”

The 12 finalists were chosen from more than 100 young cooks from district elementary schools who submitted recipes in this year’s challenge, sponsored by Sodexo.

For his first-place finish, Lovett was awarded a prize basket of cookware, kitchen utensils, a radio-controlled flying drone and a backpack.  He has the chance to move on to the 2017 regional and national Future Chef competitions.  

Lovett was assisted in the kitchen by Battery Creek High School culinary arts student Ayla Watts.

Two students tied for first runner-up.  Mossy Oaks Elementary fourth-grader Aubrie Brown dished up baked “Zucchini Boats” filled with ground beef, tomato sauce and cheese, and M.C Riley Elementary third-grader Dylan Crosby drew the judges’ praise for her “Pineapple Salmon with Coconut Rice and Honey Carrots.”  

Second runner-up, for her “Incognito Cauliflower Cheese Bites,” was fifth-grader Mia Campbell from Red Cedar Elementary.

Second and third runners-up won cooking utensils and herb garden kits. All participants won gift baskets.

“The number of entries keeps growing, and this was by far the biggest number yet in the five years we’ve been sponsoring the Future Chef competition,” said Roberta Edwards, general manager of Sodexo operations in Beaufort County.  “To watch these young students in the kitchen, to witness their creativity as well as their determination and concentration, is really something to see.”

TCL to hold Latino Open House

The Technical College of the Lowcountry will hold a Latino Open House at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 23, on its Bluffton campus.

Guests will take a tour, learn about college admissions and financial aid, and hear from attorney Olesya Matyushevsky about challenges for immigrant students.

Seven district students finalists in writing competition

Seven Beaufort County School District students are among 72 finalists in the fourth annual South Carolina High School Writing Contest.

Four juniors were named as finalists: Sophie Bellomy, Natoria Smalls and Sarah Suber (all of Beaufort High) and Amanda Taylor (Battery Creek High).  

Three Beaufort High seniors were also named as finalists: Morgan Mayne-Alexander, Alexandra Batista and Jessica Elkins.

“It’s really exciting to have one of every 10 South Carolina finalists be from Beaufort County,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss. “Expressing yourself well in written communications is important in virtually any career you can think of.”

The writing topic judged to determine the finalists was “How can we make South Carolina better?” Students responded in the genre of their choice – poetry, fiction, essay, drama or letter – using 750 words or less.

Round 2 of the competition – set for Friday, March 17, on the University of South Carolina campus in Columbia – will include a second writing test in which finalists will respond to an impromptu topic.  

The first-place winner in the senior class will receive $1,000 and the Walter Edgar Award, funded by University of South Carolina Honors College alumnus Thad Westbrook and named for his professor, the South Carolina historian and writer.  

The first-place winner in the junior class will receive $1,000 and the Dorothy Skelton Williams Award, funded by an anonymous donor and named for the late upstate public school educator. 

Second- and third-place winners in the junior and senior classes will receive $500 and $250, respectively.

The USC Press is partnering with USC’s Honors College to present the competition. Other presenting partners are Beaufort’s Pat Conroy Literary Center, the South Carolina State Library, the University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Sciences and Young Palmetto Books, an imprint of USC Press. 

Bridges Prep names teacher of the year

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Board Chair Dee Matthews and Teacher of Year Ashton Converse

Photo above: Ashton Converse (right) is named Bridges Prep Teacher of the Year.

Ashton Converse is the Bridges Prep Teacher of the Year following voting by staff at the state charter school. He teaches computer science, computer applications and digital multimedia.

Board Chair Dee Matthews surprised Converse in his classroom with balloons and a certificate recently.

“I know he is a wonderful teacher and is very much a part of what makes Bridges Prep so special,” Matthews said. “We are very proud of the work he has done and will continue to do for our students.”

Converse teaches all students from kindergarten through ninth grade at Bridges Prep. Previously, he taught in Henan, China, at Sias International University. 

Converse graduated from Bowling Green State University through a dual major program of business education and marketing education with the Bachelor of Science in Education degree.

“We can teach students … through several means, but who we are to them is more important than how we teach them,” Converse wrote in his Teacher of the Year application. “Interactions with students will define the degree with which a student trusts a teacher.

“Teaching is the way we prepare the next generation of dependable leaders, innovative inventors, diligent workers and productive citizens,” he said.

As Bridges Prep’s Teacher of the Year, his next step will be to submit paperwork for the S.C. Charter School District statewide Teacher of the Year.

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

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