Review Category : School News

Solar panel installations almost done at two schools

Technicians are completing the installation of solar panels at two schools that are each capable of generating 25,000 watts of electricity.

The new solar panels also will have an instructional component because students across the district can electronically access a computer system that monitors the energy that’s produced.

“One of our goals is to get students involved in actually evaluating these systems to see if it’s worth duplicating at other schools,” said Robert Oetting, the district’s facilities director.

A similar real-time monitoring system is in place for students to track the effects of a recently installed solar hot water heater at H.E. McCracken Middle School, Oetting said.

Bluffton High’s solar panels, in addition to their energy production, will be used to shade an outdoor patio used during the day by seniors at the school.  Bluffton High students assisted in the design as part of an academic class on architecture and engineering.

Power generated by the new solar panels will be sold to South Carolina Electric and Gas for 8 cents per kilowatt hour, which the school district estimates will generate savings (at today’s rates) that will cover the cost of the panels in 15-20 years.

The $250,000 needed to purchase and install the panels was partially offset through the Solar Grant Program for Education Installations sponsored by Palmetto Clean Energy.  The grant matched up to $50,000 each at both Bluffton High School and Whale Branch Early College High School.  The rest of the funding comes from district funds approved by the Board of Education for energy efficiency projects.

The Beaufort County School District has achieved considerable savings by developing more efficient systems in school buildings.  For example, schools’ energy use was reduced from 54 million kilowatt hours in 2006 to 39 million kilowatt hours in 2013 despite thousands of new students as well as the addition of more than a million square feet of building space.  Occupancy sensors were installed in hallways and classrooms, and more efficient light fixtures and heating and air-conditioned systems were added.

Cutting-edge technology also reduced water usage from 58 million gallons in 2006 to 51 million gallons in 2013, again despite more students and more building space.

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School Notes

BATTERY CREEK HIGH

• The Battery Creek High School Athletics Department will celebrate Senior Parents’ Night and BC Alumni Night on Friday, October 17 at the football game vs. North Charleston. The senior parents of the cheer team and football team will be honored at halftime. Senior parents of these two teams will be admitted free of charge. BC alumni are also encouraged to attend and tailgate before the game. All BC Alumni  are encouraged to contact Coach Drafts for special group discounts. The discounts will be for pre-sale tickets only and will not be available at the game.  Coach Drafts contact info is: 843-322-5574 or john.drafts@beaufort.k12k.sc.us.

• Battery Creek students showed their Dolphin pride in a big way at the first quarter blood drive held by the Interact Club on September, 26. Over 37 donors contributed a total of 31 units for The Blood Alliance and exceeded our goal. These heroes’ donations will save nearly 100 lives in our Lowcountry community. The second quarter blood drive is scheduled for December 10.

BEAUFORT ACADEMY

• Friday, Oct. 10: Half day for all students, 11:30 a.m. dismissal.

• Monday, Oct. 13: No school in observance of Columbus Day.

• Wednesday, Oct. 15: The PSAT will be administered to all 8th, 10th and 11th grade students at BA beginning at 8 a.m. in the gym.

• Save the Date!  Saturday, Oct. 18: The Golden Gala, an event celebrating BA’s 50th school with tales from BA past, present, and future as told by storytellers from the BA family.  Speakers include duos Robert Trask and Ricky Akers, Sydney Meeks Fowler and Ginny Meeks Shuman, and Bill Dalton and Colin Crumpton. See the BA website for more information or to purchase tickets.

BEAUFORT HIGH

• Congratulations to Beaufort High’s April Brooks and students in her Financial Math classes, who took the W!SE Financial Literacy Certification assessment. Of the 67 students tested, 91% passed with an average score of 81%, qualifying BHS as a Blue Star School. The official recognition for this honor will be at the MoneyPOWER Conference in November in NYC. Only two schools in the state were honored for this accomplishment.

Beaufort High junior Mya Belden recently received scholarship funds from the American Association of French Teachers.  She was selected based on her outstanding score in the National French Contest in March.  She made the second highest score in the country and scored first in the state of South Carolina in her category. This year, Mya is serving as President of Beaufort High’s French Honor Society.  She is pictured here receiving the scholarship check from Jennifer Woods, her International Studies “Head of School.”

Beaufort High junior Mya Belden recently received scholarship funds from the American Association of French Teachers. She was selected based on her outstanding score in the National French Contest in March. She made the second highest score in the country and scored first in the state of South Carolina in her category. This year, Mya is serving as President of Beaufort High’s French Honor Society. She is pictured here receiving the scholarship check from Jennifer Woods, her International Studies “Head of School.”

 

125 Riverview students participated in the “Active Gamecocks Challenge” and were given an opportunity to track their after school physical activities for two weeks with a goal of an average of 30 minutes per day. Participating students earned tickets to a selected volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer game at USC in Columbia. Thanks to Coach Van Horn and Coach Strebe for organizing this awesome activity.

125 Riverview students participated in the “Active Gamecocks Challenge” and were given an opportunity to track their after school physical activities for two weeks with a goal of an average of 30 minutes per day. Participating students earned tickets to a selected volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer game at USC in Columbia. Thanks to Coach Van Horn and Coach Strebe for organizing this awesome activity.

 

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District SAT scores dip slightly, AP scores improve

Average SAT scores of 2014 graduating seniors in the Beaufort County School District dropped slightly after a dramatic increase the previous year, the College Board reported this week. Scores improved on Advanced Placement (AP) exams that high school students take for college credit.

2014 SAT results

Average 2014 SAT scores for Beaufort County public school seniors decreased by seven points, from 1,431 in 2013 to 1,424 in 2014. Scores the previous year had increased by 48 points.

Average scores at four of the district’s five high schools decreased, while scores at one increased:

• Battery Creek High’s average was 1,280, down from 1,332 last year (57 percent tested).

• Beaufort High’s average was 1,403, down from 1,419 last year (63 percent tested).

• Bluffton High’s average was 1,437, down from 1,471 last year (73 percent tested).

• Hilton Head Island High’s 2014 average was 1,477, down from 1,548 last year (75 percent of seniors tested).

• Whale Branch Early College High’s average was 1,246, up from 1,169 last year (57 percent tested).

Statewide, South Carolina’s overall 2014 state public school average was up six points to 1,429. The national average was down four points to 1,471.

Looking at five-year trend data, Beaufort County public school students’ average SAT score is up 36 points, from 1,388 for 2009 seniors to 1,424 for 2014 seniors.

Superintendent Jeff Moss continued to stress preparation as the key to higher scores on college entrance exams.

“The SAT and ACT both let students know the courses that they need to complete prior to taking their exams,” Moss said. “Our guidance counselors make sure students know this because getting ready for college is all about preparation.  If you take the right steps in high school, you’ll be ready to apply to college and succeed once you get there.”

2014 AP exam results

Nearly half of the Beaufort County students who took Advanced Placement courses last school year scored high enough to earn college credit, according to 2014 data from the College Board.

District officials said they were encouraged by increases in the numbers of district high school students taking AP courses. For the 2013-14 school year, 1,749 AP exams were taken compared to 1,712 the previous year and only 966 five years ago.

“It’s significant when more students decide to take more challenging college-level academic courses, and yet their scores continue to improve,” Moss said.

Testing experts say that average scores tend to decrease when more students take the tests, but that hasn’t occurred in Beaufort County over the past five years.

AP courses — and the accompanying College Board exams that demonstrate mastery of the course material — let students earn college credit while still in high school.  Last school year, 49 percent of Beaufort County’s AP students scored 3 or better on the tests’ five-point scale, qualifying them for college credit.  That was up from 47 percent in 2012-13 and an up from 44 percent five years ago.

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Beaufort Academy swim team makes waves at meet

Congratulations to the BA Swim Team on their performances last Saturday at the SCISA A-AA State Swim Meet. Overall, BA had one individual state champion and the teams finished 4th of 15 schools in the A-AA division.

Girls Team Highlights:

• Freshman Sarah Avera is the state champion in the 50 freestyle with a 26.30!  This is a new BA school record.

• 3rd place: S. Avera, 100 freestyle, 58.82

• 5th place: Quinn Fleming, 500 freestyle, 6:40.73

• 5th place: 200 Medley Relay, Michaela Russell, S. Avera, Casey Kahn, Q. Fleming, 2:15.09

• 5th place: 400 Freestyle Relay, Maris Staley, Emma Melville, Anna Daubert, Jennings Tumlin, 5:19.97

Boys Team Highlights:

• Second place: Grant Hetherington, 100 backstroke, 1:03.55 (new BA school record)

• Second place: 200 Freestyle Relay, Drummond Koppernaes, Ben Hetherington, Andrew Maraska, G. Hetherington, 1:40.36

• Third place: G. Hetherington, 50 freestyle, 23.56 (new BA school record)

• 3rd place: 200 Medley Relay, B. Hetherington, A. Maraska, G. Hetherington, D. Koppernaes, 1:58.05 (new BA school record)

• 4th place: D. Kopperanes, 100 Freestyle, 55.7.

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USCB Chancellor Upshaw to retire in 2015

Jane T. Upshaw, Ph.D., the chancellor of the University of South Carolina Beaufort, announced today she will retire after serving as USCB’s chief administrative officer for 15 years.

Dr. Upshaw sent an email to faculty and staff notifying them that she plans to retire on Aug. 15, 2015. She said it was her “distinct honor” to serve USCB for the past 31 years, beginning as an adjunct professor and concluding her career as its chancellor.

In 1999, Dr. Upshaw was appointed Dean of the University — the first woman to lead a campus of the eight institutions in the USC system. Her charge from the community was to grow the institution — to serve a historically impoverished population in a four-county region of the state that had no access to a public or private baccalaureate education. After a statewide campaign by Dr. Upshaw and several community leaders, the USC Board of Trustees and the South Carolina Commission for Higher Education voted to encourage USC Beaufort to pursue baccalaureate status in 2002.

With the institution’s change in role and mission now a publicly stated goal, Dr. Upshaw was promoted to Chancellor of USCB, reporting directly to the President of the University of South Carolina. She was the first woman to lead a senior, baccalaureate campus of the university system.

Under Dr. Upshaw’s leadership, the USCB strategic plan to gain baccalaureate status was approved by the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools. In 2004, the first baccalaureate graduates of the University of South Carolina Beaufort received degrees. In that same year, a new 200-acre campus opened at the gateway to Hilton Head Island.

Since then, USCB has tripled its academic degree programs, doubled its FTE enrollment, opened its first on-campus housing (now serving up to 680 students), joined the NAIA Sun Conference, and fielded conference and national award-winning Sand Shark athletic programs in nine sports. The university’s two campuses serve a diverse student body of more than 1,700 students. Dr. Upshaw played a pivotal role in adding such new academic majors as Computational Science and Nursing, both of which are supported by extensive, state-of-the-art laboratories.

Dr. Upshaw served as a guiding force for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), which today accounts for more than 1,500 members. In total, they participate in more than 1 million course hours annually, which places USCB’s OLLI program in the top 10 in the country.

“Jane Upshaw is a dynamic educator and leader. The size of her vision for USCB, the courage of her commitment to grow a small two year college into a regional comprehensive university and her 15 years of continuous leadership at USCB have yielded exceptional results. The realization of the dream of a full service baccalaureate university offering affordable access to students in the Lowcountry is her significant and enduring contribution to our state,” said Paula Harper Bethea, executive director of the SC Education Lottery and President of USC MyCarolina Alumni Association.

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School Notes

BATTERY CREEK HIGH

• The Battery Creek High School Athletics Department will celebrate Senior Parents’ Night and BC Alumni Night on Friday, October 17 at the football game vs. North Charleston. The senior parents of the cheer team and football team will be honored at halftime. Senior parents of these two teams will be admitted free of charge. BC alumni are also encouraged to attend and tailgate before the game. All BC Alumni  are encouraged to contact Coach Drafts for special group discounts available that evening. The discounts will be for pre-sale tickets only and will not be available at the game.  Coach Drafts contact info is: 843-322-5574 or john.drafts@beaufort.k12k.sc.us.

BEAUFORT ACADEMY

Congratulations to the Beaufort Academy Middle School Cross Country Team, they have won their last three meets. BA hosted its first home meet on October 1.

Congratulations to the Beaufort Academy Middle School Cross Country Team, they have won their last three meets. BA hosted its first home meet on October 1.

• Wednesday, Oct. 8: BA is hosting Fields of Faith, a national Fellowship of Christian Athletes event, for the entire Beaufort community.  All are invited to attend from 6:45-8 p.m., middle schoolers, high schoolers, youth groups of all kinds!  Please see www.beaufortacademy.org for more information or call us at 843-524-3393.

• Wednesday, Oct. 8: Blues Musician Scott Ainslie will visit BA to give a concert and afterschool workshops.

BEAUFORT HIGH

• The Beaufort High School Boys Basketball program will be hosting two skills clinics for boys in October for boys in grades 4-8.  These clinics will be at the Beaufort High School gym from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, October 4, and Saturday October 18. The cost of each clinic is $25 but there are discounts for registering siblings or for registering for both clinics. For more information, contact Coach Livesay at 843-322-2000, nathan.livesay@beaufort.k12.sc.us

• Beaufort High will hold Spirit Night at Fat Patties on Tuesday, October 7, from 5:30 p.m. until close. A portion of the proceeds to benefit the Beaufort High School Theater Department.

Battery Creek’s Marissa Davis tried out to be elected as a FCA All-American Cheerleader this summer at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’s Furman University Cheer Camp.  She was successful and will now have the opportunity to perform in the Chic-fil-A parade and pre-game pep rally this New Year’s with other All-Americans from all over the South.

Battery Creek’s Marissa Davis tried out to be elected as a FCA All-American Cheerleader this summer at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’s Furman University Cheer Camp. She was successful and will now have the opportunity to perform in the Chic-fil-A parade and pre-game pep rally this New Year’s with other All-Americans from all over the South.

Kindergarten students in Ms. Newton’s class at Bridges Prep became scientists last week and used their five senses to conduct an experiment. They made hypotheses, or guesses, before conducting their experiment as to what they thought would happen. They worked in groups to see what they would find inside an owl pellet. They were shocked to see the many small animal bones there were in the pellets. They then determined if their hypotheses were correct and made a conclusion as to what an owl must eat if they found so many bones in their pellets.

Kindergarten students in Ms. Newton’s class at Bridges Prep became scientists last week and used their five senses to conduct an experiment. They made hypotheses, or guesses, before conducting their experiment as to what they thought would happen. They worked in groups to see what they would find inside an owl pellet. They were shocked to see the many small animal bones there were in the pellets. They then determined if their hypotheses were correct and made a conclusion as to what an owl must eat if they found so many bones in their pellets.

 

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High school students improve performance on end-of-course exams

Students in Beaufort County improved their performance on 2014 state tests administered at the end of key high school courses, according to results released this week by the South Carolina Department of Education.

South Carolina students’ scores on end-of-course exams count for 20 percent of final grades in Algebra 1, English 1, Biology and U.S. History and Constitution.  Beaufort County students improved their percentages of passing grades in all four courses in 2014:

• Algebra 1: The percentage of students passing increased from 79.2 percent in 2013 to 83.7 in 2014 (state passing percentage was 85.6).

• English 1: The percentage passing improved from 77.5 percent in 2013 to 78.3 in 2014 (state passing percentage was 77).

• U.S. History and Constitution: The percentage passing improved from 60.4 in 2013 to 65.7 in 2014 (state passing percentage was 65.4).

• Biology: The percentage passing increased from 80.7 in 2013 to 83 in 2014 (state passing percentage was 78.8).

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Teacher of the Year: Whale Branch Middle music teacher honored

A music teacher who attended Beaufort County Schools herself, and whose mother was a teacher at Hilton Head Island High School, was named as Beaufort County’s 2014-2015 District Teacher of the Year.

The selection of Amy Simmons, band director at Whale Branch Middle School, was announced during a breakfast celebration to honor teachers of the year from all of the district’s schools on Friday, Sept. 19.

Amy Simmons reacts when her name was announced as the 2014-15 District Teacher of the Year. Hugging Amy is her mother, a 30-year retired Beaufort County teacher.  Smiling and clapping, center, is Whale Branch Middle School Principal Matt Hunt.

Amy Simmons reacts when her name was announced as the 2014-15 District Teacher of the Year. Hugging Amy is her mother, a 30-year retired Beaufort County teacher. Smiling and clapping, center, is Whale Branch Middle School Principal Matt Hunt.

“Amy exemplifies the key characteristics of a passionate teacher and natural born leader,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss. “Her students succeed because of her skill at engaging them and instilling them with confidence. She encourages, and she pushes, and she challenges them every day to do their best.”

After the announcement, Martha Hartley, chief financial officer of Hilton Head Buick-GMC-Cadillac, offered Simmons her choice of three new cars donated by the dealership for her to use over the coming year, or a $5,000 check. Simmons, who had recently purchased a car, chose the check.

Simmons has been teaching music and directing the band at Whale Branch Middle since 2010 and says her proudest moments in teaching are when students find relationships between standards from their core curriculum within their music lessons.

Principal Matthew Hunt said that while there are many terrific teachers in Beaufort County, it takes a truly gifted and special person to make a difference in the lives of those considered “at-risk” students. “Amy Simmons has worked tirelessly to build and establish quality instructional and educational opportunities for students throughout Beaufort County,” he said, “and we are fortunate that this former Beaufort County student has chosen to call Whale Branch Middle her home.”

According to Simmons, her teaching philosophy is based on a quote that she adopted early on: “Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens. If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart.”

One of Simmons’ greatest accomplishments in the classroom was in 2012 when she won a Mr. Holland’s Opus Grant, which purchased much-needed equipment for music classes. Included in that equipment was a collection of steel drums, and over the past two years, the Whale Branch Middle steel drum band has travelled all over the Southeast to perform.

“I chose this profession to help students succeed,” Simmons wrote in her Teacher of the Year application. “I chose this profession to give students the opportunities I had growing up in this very same district.”

Simmons educational background includes: EdS. Education Administration from South Carolina State University; M.A. Teaching with Specialization in National Board Certified Teaching Leadership from National University; B.S. Music Education from South Carolina State University.

The four other finalists for 2014-15 District Teacher of the Year were Michelle Henry of Whale Branch Elementary, Caroleen Hodge of Port Royal Elementary, Annette Lee of Hilton Head Island High School, and Sharon McMahon of Bluffton Middle.

Becoming District Teacher of the Year is a three-step process that begins when school-level teachers of the year are selected in April. Those wishing to compete for District Teacher of the Year submit detailed applications by the end of July.

In the second step, a selection committee consisting of parents, former educators and community leaders from across Beaufort County reviews the applications and rates them using a numerical scoring system.  The five highest-scoring applicants are named as finalists.

In the third step, the finalists are interviewed by a separate review committee again composed of judges from across the county.  Those panelists begin by reviewing videos of the teachers doing classroom lessons. The judges then score candidates based on how well they respond to questions about the teaching methods shown in the videos, as well as how they respond to questions about current education issues.

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School Notes

BATTERY CREEK HIGH

• The Annual Miss Battery Creek High School Pageant will be held on Saturday, September 27 at 6 p.m. in the John McVey Performing Arts Center. There will be four young ladies competing for the title of Miss Battery Creek High School: Elizabeth Ford, Jasmine Middleton, La’Schirrae Morrall and Tinea Morris. The contestants will be judged in six categories. Tickets $5.

BEAUFORT ACADEMY

•   Thursday, Sept. 25: Town Hall Meeting and Open House for current parents

The Pre-K and Kindergarten students at Beaufort Academy planted a fall garden a few weeks ago, and it’s now starting to produce vegetables. The students planted lettuce, kale, broccoli, carrots, beans, and flowers. The PreK-4 class is seen with their beans.

The Pre-K and Kindergarten students at Beaufort Academy planted a fall garden a few weeks ago, and it’s now starting to produce vegetables. The students planted lettuce, kale, broccoli, carrots, beans, and flowers. The PreK-4 class is seen with their beans.

• Friday, Sept. 26: Orders are due for the school-wide Local Happiness fundraiser.  See the website for additional details.

• Save the Date: Wednesday, Oct. 8: BA is hosting Fields of Faith, a national Fellowship of Christian Athletes event, for the entire Beaufort community.  All are invited to attend from 6:45 to 8 p.m.

BEAUFORT HIGH

• The Beaufort High School Boys Basketball program will be hosting two skills clinics for boys in October for boys in grades 4-8.  These clinics will be at the Beaufort High gym from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 4, and Saturday Oct. 18. The cost of each clinic is $25. Anyone who registers before Sept. 29 will receive a free Beaufort Basketball T-shirt. For more information, contact Coach Livesay at 843-322-2000, nathan.livesay@beaufort.k12.sc.us.

LADY’S ISLAND MIDDLE

•  The end of the first quarter ends on October 20.  Report cards will be sent home October 23 followed by

All second graders from Bridges Prep went on a walking field trip to the downtown Beaufort Waterfront to view the marsh, the wetlands that inhabit fiddler crabs, blue crab, and Spartina grass among a landscape where children can explore, becoming an outdoor classroom for all.

All second graders from Bridges Prep went on a walking field trip to the downtown Beaufort Waterfront to view the marsh, the wetlands that inhabit fiddler crabs, blue crab, and Spartina grass among a landscape where children can explore, becoming an outdoor classroom for all.

parent-teacher conferences on Oct. 23 to Oct. 24.

•  Last Friday, September 19 was a PBIS Friday.  During Academic Arts periods for their respective grades, students were authorized to either watch a movie, play ping pong, basketball or other fun activates.

SCHOOL DISTRICT

• College Application Day: Beaufort County high school seniors will get one-on-one coaching as they prepare college applications on Thursday, Sept. 25, with help from guidance counselors, parents, community volunteers and representatives of colleges and universities. “College Application Day,” a joint project of the Beaufort County School District, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education and the S.C. Department of Education, will provide coaching and advice to students at all five high schools as they fill out actual college applications online.

The students and teachers at Hobbit Hill Daycare in Shell Point celebrated the first day of fall, Tuesday, Sept. 23, by wearing jerseys and T-shirts from their favorite football teams. Go Team Hobbit Hill!

The students and teachers at Hobbit Hill Daycare in Shell Point celebrated the first day of fall, Tuesday, Sept. 23, by wearing jerseys and T-shirts from their favorite football teams. Go Team Hobbit Hill!

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BA’s T. Reynolds Robinson Scholarship recipient named

Todger Davis was named as the recipient of the 2014 T. Reynolds Robinson Scholarship at Beaufort Academy. This scholarship has been awarded annually at BA since 1989, the year Reynolds died tragically at the young age of 13. Reynolds was a student at Beaufort Academy during his short, but full-of-adventure life.

This scholarship is awarded by his family in celebration and remembrance of Reynolds. Recipients must possess many of the qualities that people loved about Reynolds: strong leadership, athletic ability, the respect and friendship of classmates, in addition to maintaining a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 during the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades. Awarded to a 10th grader, the scholarship offers $1,500 toward the student’s college education.

The award was presented by Reynolds’ brother, Clark, and his parents, Betsey and Bill Robinson.

Sitting at center is 2014 recipient Todger Davis, his father Tad Davis at right, and step-mother Selma Lovett at left. Standing is scholarship presenter Clark Robinson and his parents, Betsey and Bill Robinson.

Sitting at center is 2014 recipient Todger Davis, his father Tad Davis at right, and step-mother Selma Lovett at left. Standing is scholarship presenter Clark Robinson and his parents, Betsey and Bill Robinson.

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