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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.

School briefs for March 9th-15th

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Holy Trinity third-grader Michael Hernandez placed in the top 10 at the SCISA state spelling bee. His teacher, Paul Newman, attended the competition held in Kingstree.
Holy Trinity third-grader Michael Hernandez placed in the top 10 at the SCISA state spelling bee. His teacher, Paul Newman, attended the competition held in Kingstree.

Local student writers finalists in contest

Seventy-two high school juniors and seniors from across the state have been named finalists in the fourth South Carolina High School Writing Contest.

Local finalists include Natoria Smalls, Sarah Suber, Morgan Mayne-Alexander, Alexandra Batista and Jessica Elkins, all of Beaufort High School; and Amanda Taylor, of Battery Creek High School.

One of the presenting partners was the Pat Conroy Literacy Center. 

“We started in 2013 with 23 finalists, so we have grown remarkably,” said Steven Lynn, dean of the South Carolina Honors College and founder of the contest. “We are impressed with the quality and quantity of writing we’ve received.”

As in years before, the topic is “How can we make South Carolina better?” 

Students can respond in the genre of their choice — poetry, fiction, essay, drama, letter — in 750 words or less. The contest is open to juniors and seniors in public, private and home schools. Writings by the finalists will be included in an anthology published by the University of South Carolina Press.

The second round will be held March 17 at the University of South Carolina.

Bridges Prep hires first chief operational officer

Bridges Preparatory School hired Caroline Lovell as its first chief operational officer to help lead the state charter school as it grows in size and academic offerings.

Since 2004 Lovell has served as director of finance and human resources at United Way of the Lowcountry. She’s been involved at Bridges Prep since it started in 2013 and most recently served on the Board of Directors until resigning that position in February.

“There were 25 applicants for the position, but none of them brought the depth and breadth of experience that Caroline brings to Bridges,” Head of School Dr. Nick Ithomitis said. “She understands the challenges we have faced, the obstacles still in our path, and she brings a skill set to help us achieve success.”

Bridges Preparatory School was chartered by South Carolina in mid-2012 and opened at near capacity in August 2013. For the 2017-2018 school year, Bridges Prep will expand to tenth grade and in two years will be a full-service K-12 state charter school.

“I’m thrilled at the opportunity and humbled at being selected,” Lovell said. “Fortunately I am ready to start work on Day One because I’ve been involved in a lot of the work to get us where we are today.”

When she starts in mid-April, Lovell’s duties will include human resources, development and fundraising, financial oversight, and ensuring the fast-growing school continues to operate efficiently and effectively.

Lovell has a bachelor’s degree in institutional administration with a minor in business administration from Georgia Southern University.

Superintendent holding town hall meetings

Superintendent Jeff Moss is holding several town halls throughout Beaufort County, and there are two coming up in Northern Beaufort County.

The first will be at 6 p.m., April 19, at Beaufort High School; and the second will be at 6 p.m. at Battery Creek High School.

He has already held town hall meetings at Whale Branch Early College High School, Bluffton Middle, Bluffton High. There is also one scheduled at 6 p.m. March 30 at Hilton Head High.

Moss holds informal town hall meetings twice year with parents and citizens in each of the district’s “clusters” of schools.

“The discussions during our fall meetings were terrific, and the input from parents, community members and students was invaluable,” Moss said. “I’m really looking forward to reconnecting with parents and community members this spring.”

For Spanish-speaking parents, simultaneous translation devices will be available.

School briefs for March 2nd-8th

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Local counselors honored by district

From left are Kimberly Brown, Suzan Ballard and Jalissa Newton.
From left are Kimberly Brown, Suzan Ballard and Jalissa Newton.

Jalissa Newton, of Lady’s Island Elementary, has been named the 2017 Beaufort County School District’s Elementary School Counselor, and Kimberly Brown, of Whale Branch Early College High, was named the High School Counselor of the Year.

Veteran H.E. McCracken Middle School lead counselor Suzan Ballard was named the 2017 School Counselor of the Year.

Superintendent Jeff Moss made the announcements at a recent awards breakfast for the district’s counselors.  

“Top-notch schools have top-notch school counselors,” Moss said. “They keep students on track for success, both academically and emotionally. And they also have to be excellent communicators in order to keep parents informed about their children’s progress.” 

A three-person panel of district administrators evaluated this year’s candidates and selected the honorees.

More than 20 local businesses and community members sponsored the awards breakfast and donated gifts for the school district’s counselors.

Adult ed program earns honors, funds

The Beaufort County School District’s adult education program has received two statewide awards as well as $822,000 in performance-based funding tied to positive academic results.

Although the district’s adult education program serves students of all ages, performance-based funding rewards those that help students ages 17-22 earn their South Carolina high school diplomas, WorkKeys certificates or high school equivalency diplomas (GEDs). 

“Our adult education team continues to raise the bar,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss. “These recognitions represent a tremendous amount of time, effort and energy devoted to helping students be successful in school and in life.”

Adult Education Director Juanita Murrell said this is the third year for performance-based funding, which allocates state and federal dollars to local programs based on indicators such as students’ academic improvements as well as the numbers of students earning high school diplomas, WorkKeys certificates or GEDs.  

Beaufort County has received $822,000 in performance-based funds based on indicators from the 2015-16 school year.

“Adult education has a tremendous positive impact, not only on the lives of students but also on the economy and business climate of the entire county,” Murrell said. “That’s because we have a singular focus, and that is creating pathways for students to get and keep good jobs. The more gains we make with our students and the more lives we improve, the more funding we’ll receive.”

Vets needed for school project

A local teacher is seeking local veterans for a class project.

The Academic Arts class of Laura Richardson, of Beaufort Middle School, will be interviewing local veterans and videotaping or audiotaping the interviews. 

“We plan to submit the interviews to the Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project, in hopes that the interviews can be added to their collection,” said Richardson. “We did this last year and the Library of Congress accepted all eight videotaped interviews into their collection.”

The Veteran’s History Project incorporates videos, photographs, letters, diaries, journals, military documents, unpublished memoirs from veterans, who served in the United States military, in any capacity, from World War I through the present and are no longer serving. 

Civilians who served in support of a United States war effort in a professional capacity also are welcome to participate.

Call Richardson at 843-322-5679, or e-mail her at

Local student named to Dean’s List

Tucker Langehans, a sophomore English major at Grove City College, has been named to the Dean’s List with Distinction for the Fall 2016 semester. Tucker is a 2015 graduate of Beaufort Academy and is the daughter of Dr. Michael and Sarah Langehans.

Local students named to President’s List

Michelle Marie Britton, Zachary A. Brown, Kelsey E. Butler, Robert W. Fanning, Michael A. Gulledge, Guy Maximilian Kemmann, Adam E. Lipsitz, Kody L. McHale, Frances Dunbar Myrick, Hannah Jean Raymond, Grace D. Rhodes, Elizabeth C. Rhodes, James M. Rider, Logan A. Riley, Lee A. Samuel, Alexandra A. Sebestyen, Andrew Graham Stoddard and Mary Austen Stoddard, all of Beaufort, have been named to the Clemson University President’s List for the fall 2016 semester.

Holy Trinity student wins dance competition


Holy Trinity student Payton Howard took first place in the 2017 South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) Dance Competition for her contemporary solo to “Read All About It.” 

In addition, Howard was named SCISA Middle School State Dance Best Overall Soloist. 

Howard has been dancing since the age of 2 and has placed in numerous competitions, her most recent being recognized for first place and the judges’ choice award at Dance Makers Inc., where she was also selected by the faculty to receive a National Finals Scholarship. 

However, earning SCISA titles for Holy Trinity holds a special significance for the seventh grader. 

“I love being able to tell a story through movement and dance,” she said. “It was exciting to watch and cheer on the other dancers at the competition, but what made the SCISA Dance Competition so special for me was the honor of being able to represent my school, Holy Trinity.” 

To learn more about the classical Christian education offered at Holy Trinity, visit 

School briefs for February 23rd-March 1st

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Prom boutique to be held; dresses and more needed

The Junior Service League of Beaufort (JSLB) is hosting its sixth annual Prom Boutique from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at the YMCA of Beaufort. 

Since 2011, JSLB’s Prom Boutique has helped girls in Beaufort and Jasper counties experience the magic of finding the perfect prom dress.

In past years, over 75 girls have attended the event where they are able to choose from a wide variety of new and gently used formal dresses, accessories and jewelry at no cost. 

JSLB members serve as personal stylists for the girls, helping each to pick the perfect gown and complete her look. And this year, JSLB is excited to expand the opportunity to Hampton Country students as well.

“The most rewarding part of this experience, and why we continue to host this event year after year, is the reaction of the girls when they find the perfect dress,” said Missy Nelson, co-chairwoman of the Prom Boutique. “The girls leave the Prom Boutique with a sense of confidence that serves them far beyond the memorable occasion of prom.”

Similar to past years, the Prom Boutique offers attendees a red-carpet experience and includes a VIP hour from 11 a.m. to noon for those who pre-register for the event. 

VIP attendees have the opportunity to have first pick of all dresses and accessories, while enjoying even more personalized attention from JSLB’s personal stylists. 

VIP applications are available through school guidance counselors and on the website at

Any student in Beaufort, Jasper or Hampton counties is invited to attend the boutique. Shoppers must show their student ID or have a letter on school letterhead from their guidance counselor, teacher or school administrator. All girls who attend the event are welcome to bring family members or friends to help them shop. 

The YMCA of Beaufort is located at 1801 Richmond Ave. in Port Royal.

Dresses and accessories are needed for the event. JSLB will accept new or gently used long and short dresses in all sizes and accessories, such as earrings, necklaces, bracelets, shawls and handbags. Dresses must be clean and have no visible tears or stains. 

Donations can be dropped off through Monday, March 6, at the following locations:

• SugarBelle, 905 Boundary St., Beaufort.

• Amazing Event Rentals, 35 Parris Island Gateway, Beaufort, or 352 Argent Blvd., Hardeeville.

Classroom teachers, staff attend professional training

Nearly 2,000 classroom teachers and school staff attended a full day of professional development training at multiple sites as the school district hosted its fourth annual Best Practices Day.  

The mid-year event is an opportunity for local educators to expand their knowledge and enhance their skills.

More than 100 sessions were offered, with topics for teachers ranging from “Classroom Management Strategies” and “Using Case Studies to Increase Interest and Achievement in High School Earth Science” to “Progress Monitoring Made Simple” to “Paint, Glitter and Glue, Oh, My! Arts Integration in PreK.”  

Support staff could sign up for special sessions geared to their responsibilities.

“We have outstanding classroom professionals and school staff in our district, people who are experts at what they do,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss. “Our annual Best Practices Day lets us leverage that expertise and make our teachers and staff more effective, which ultimately benefits students.” 

Bluffton High School tapped for specialized AP program

Students throughout Beaufort County can apply to attend a new program at Bluffton High School, one of only a few South Carolina schools approved to implement this program that helps students to develop skills valued by colleges and employers.

The new AP Capstone program, scheduled to begin for the 2017-18 academic year, will become a new school choice in addition to Bluffton High’s current offerings of Project Lead the Way and Acceleration Academy.  

Any student in Beaufort County can apply, and the deadline is 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28.

AP Capstone is a special diploma program that allows students to develop their research, collaboration and communication skills by taking two Advanced Placement courses in sequence: AP Seminar and AP Research.  AP Capstone is coordinated by the College Board, the nonprofit organization that manages SAT college entrance exams as well as Advanced Placement exams that allow students to earn college credits while still in high school.

Only 1,000 high schools worldwide offer the AP Capstone program, and only four South Carolina schools currently offer AP Capstone.

Middle school girls attend STEM day

Fifty middle school girls spent a recent Saturday immersed in learning activities related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  

Local professionals in those STEM fields led the workshop.   

The daylong session, Launch Your Future with STEM, was supported by the Beaufort Chapter of the American Association of University Women and funded by a grant from the Society of Women Engineers through a donation from the ExxonMobil Foundation.  

The workshop was co-sponsored by the University of South Carolina-Beaufort and the Beaufort County School District.

The participating girls were students at Robert Smalls International Academy as well as Beaufort, Lady’s Island and Whale Branch middle schools.

Women often are not familiar with STEM career possibilities although high-paying jobs in STEM-related fields are increasing quickly and companies are actively seeking out women to apply.

Horton scholarship winner is named


Beaufort Academy and the Thomas H. Horton Jr. Memorial Scholarship committee have selected junior Anna Miller as its 12th annual scholarship recipient. She is the daughter of Aaron and Karen Miller.

Tom Horton was a beloved teacher and coach at Beaufort Academy for 23 years.  In 2003, he died, 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 Horton’s love of travel, the scholarship is designated to give Beaufort Academy students a chance to participate in a summer study abroad program. 

Anna, the 2017 recipient, inspired by literature, and driven by her own love for creative writing, will travel to Ireland for 25 days this summer as a part of “The Irish Life Experience.”  

She will be studying past and present authors, local culture, drama, writing and song. 

During the last 11 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.

DATAW Visual Arts Club makes visit to Lady’s Island Middle

Eight members of the Dataw Island Visual Arts Club (VAC) toured the Lady’s Island Middle School (LIMS) art department recently. Art teacher Cadra Rooney conducted the tour.  

This excursion was a follow-up to see the students at work in their art center after the VAC donated $1,400 recently to support the LIMS art program.

The tour began in the gallery that the students designed themselves in 2016.  To ensure success, they conducted research and toured the Telfair Museum, Columbia Museum and SCAD to observe how effective galleries operate. They took measurements, priced out supplies, and then contributed to final decisions during the construction process.

The next stop was the drawing studio set up with a still life arrangement surrounded by easels, ready for students to begin drawing. The last stop was the main art room where the students drew a pattern for a slab box with a hinged top, rolled out the clay, cut the forms and began to create a treasure. Rooney explained that in the next step the pottery would be glazed using a variety of newly purchased glazes.

Dataw VAC members said they were very pleased to see their donation was making a positive contribution to the community, and they received many thank-you notes from appreciative students for donating to the school’s art funds.

BA students take part in SCISA spelling bee

Twelve Beaufort Academy students in grades 3-8 participated in the SCISA Spelling Bee on Jan. 25. 

Overall, Beaufort Academy placed 5th out of eight schools. 

Eighth-grade student Emma Dillinger placed in the top two and will be heading to the SCISA state competition. 

Seventh-grader Mary Hanna Hiers placed in the top four, also earning points for BA. 

The other Beaufort Academy competitors were Sam Schools, Trip Nellen, Caroline Schools, Langdon Taylor, Andrew Gates, Brock Bettle, Ilse Von Heimburg, Ledare Pingree, Emma Grace Dinkins and Margot Packard.

Bridges Prep educator named Favorite Teacher

Bridges Prep teacher Katherine Tapia was recently named Favorite Teacher by Winning Orthodontic Smiles of Beaufort and Bluffton.

Katherine Tapia, a third-grade teacher, received a $100 gift card to Staples. It was the first time any Bridges Prep teacher had received the award since the school’s opening.

One of Tapia’s students, Caitlin Conley, nominated her teacher for the monthly award. She signed up her teacher when visiting the orthodontic office of Dr. Skeet Burris, Dr. Travis Fiegle and Dr. Katie Plunkett.

“This was a nice surprise for Mrs. Tapia and her students,” Bridges Head of School Nick Ithomitis said. “The kids adore her and I think it’s wonderful that one of her students thought to nominate her at the orthodontist’s office as Favorite Teacher.’”

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

Whale Branch to get new gym

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Staff reports

The Beaufort County board of education voted recently to devote a portion of its borrowing capacity to building a larger competition gym for Whale Branch Early College High School.

Since Whale Branch Early College High opened in 2010, its four basketball teams have practiced and played their interscholastic games in one small gymnasium.  

A larger competition gym was never built, and today Whale Branch is the only high school in Beaufort County that doesn’t have a competition and a practice gym.

According to the district’s current capital improvement plan, the preliminary cost estimate to build the new gym is $4.4 million.  

The board voted to place the project 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.  

The district’s goal, officials said, is to design, build and open the gym in time for the 2018-19 basketball season.

“It’s an exciting development, and it goes beyond athletics because a competition gym will basically be an extension of our classroom space,” said Principal Mona Lise Dickson. “Now we’ll have more room for physical education classes as well as a comfortable space for indoor community events like graduation ceremonies.”

There are other issues, Dickson said.  

For example, basketball practices currently pose a significant scheduling challenge because all four of the high school’s teams (varsity boys and girls and junior varsity boys and girls) must practice daily in the small practice gym. That leads to practice sessions that stretch into the evening hours, she said.

In addition, the practice gym’s limited 680-person capacity means that if Whale Branch Warrior basketball teams advance past the second round of the state playoffs, they would forfeit their home-court advantage because their gym’s capacity doesn’t meet South Carolina High School League minimum size requirements.

Another great year at Chilly Bean event

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The popular fourth annual Chilly Bean Run and Chili Cookoff was held Feb. 4, and was a huge success. 

The event, a fundraiser for Beaufort Academy’s Parents Association, was held in the Coosaw Point neighborhood on Lady’s Island in Beaufort. 

In addition to a 5K and 10K, there was an after-party, chili cookoff, music and more. 

These photos were taken by Ashley Rodgers, AMR Photography & Design.

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School briefs for February 16th-22nd

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BA homecoming

Photo above: Beaufort Academy’s Mary Keane was recently named the 2017 homecoming queen. She is the daughter of Dr. Timothy and Dr. Karen Keane, and has been a student at Beaufort Academy since she was in preschool. The homecoming court consisted of Mary Keane, Amanda Kahn and Mary Louise Gallant.

Students named to honor societies

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Beaufort Academy welcomed five new high school students to the National Honor Society, and 20 new middle school students into the National Junior Honor Society. 

The 2017 Junior National Honor Society inductees are Madison Lynn Aivaz, Charlotte Fjeld, Courtney Renee Kirberger, Anna Elizabeth Miller and John Ryan Muniz.

The 2017 Junior National Honor Society inductees are Emma Selene Dillinger, Madison Riley Gates, Griffin Shelby Harley, Maeve Weilin Kalady, Julianna Ruth Lane, Kristin Makenzie Levesque, Alyssa Katherine Lewis, Margot Phipps Packard, Camille Salley Pendarvis, Ansleigh Claire Pingree, Kevin Jarrod Rogers, Judith Emily Wilson, Lila Hunter Alcott, Connor Raymond Benson, Rebecca Marie Frelin, Thomas McMillan Holladay, Morgan Hope Ogden, Peyton Anslee Polk, Grayson Rhodes Price and Jeffery M. Rushing.

Board approves calendar for 2017-18 school year

The Beaufort County board of education recently approved the academic calendar for the 2017-18 school year.

The first day for students will be Aug. 21, and the final day of classes will be May 31, 2018.  

The 2017-18 calendar includes a longer winter break, a preference indicated by parents and district employees in online surveys.   

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

However, that may change.

Legislation currently being considered by the General Assembly would allow schools to begin the 2017-18 year on Thursday, Aug. 17, because of the solar eclipse that will affect South Carolina on Aug. 21.  

Several board members voiced support for revisiting the calendar decision – and moving the first day of school from Aug. 21 to Aug. 17 – if the General Assembly eventually votes to permit that flexibility.

Holiday dates with schools closed are Sept. 4 (Labor Day), Nov. 22-24 (Thanksgiving), Dec. 21-Jan. 8 (winter break), Jan. 15 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) and March 30 (Good Friday).

Battery Creek takes 9th at farming event

The Battery Creek High School Future Farmers of America Wildlife Team placed ninth out of 32 teams at a recent competition held at the Georgetown campus of Horry-Georgetown Technical College. 

In this event, the teams competed to identify a variety of plant and animal species, including identifying the age and sex of both turkeys and quail. The Boone and Crockett scoring system for antlers and a 50-question exam were also a part of the competition.

This is the first year of the agriculture program at Battery Creek High School and one of the first events in which the school’s FFA chapter has been able to participate. 

Competitors at the event were comprised of schools with long-established agriculture programs. 

The Battery Creek High School students surpassed their goals for being competitive in a first-year program and continually seek to improve.

Bridges Prep board to consider new curriculum

A proposed new curriculum for Bridges Prep High School and review of the 2017-2018 school budget are topics the Bridges Prep board of directors will discuss at its Thursday, Feb. 16, meeting.

The new course of high school studies will outline what classes will be available next year to students in grades 9 and 10, as well as what courses are expected to be offered in coming years as Bridges expands to grades 11 and 12.

“If the new program of studies is approved by the board of directors, we will schedule a High School Information Night later this month,” Bridges Head of School Dr. Nick Ithomitis said. “Parents and students need to know as early as possible what their academic options will be as we continue to grow our curriculum at Bridges Prep.”

The Bridges Prep board of directors will meet at 6:30 p.m. at the main campus, 1100 Boundary St. in Beaufort. The meeting is open to the public.

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

Local leaders learn about education programs

Mona Lise Dickson, principal of Whale Branch Early College High School, Dr. Dereck Rhoads, chief instructional officer for the Beaufort County School District, and Dr. Kenneth Flick, dean for Business and Industrial Technologies at TCL, host a panel discussion for the Beaufort County Senior Leadership Program about educational programs in Beaufort County. Photo by Steve Brown.
Mona Lise Dickson, principal of Whale Branch Early College High School, Dr. Dereck Rhoads, chief instructional officer for the Beaufort County School District, and Dr. Kenneth Flick, dean for Business and Industrial Technologies at TCL, host a panel discussion for the Beaufort County Senior Leadership Program about educational programs in Beaufort County. Photo by Steve Brown.

Participants in the 2017 Beaufort County Senior Leadership Class gathered at two of Beaufort County schools, Whale Branch Early College High School and Robert Smalls International Academy, recently to hear presentations from a variety of educators.

The program provided participants with an overview of the educational system in Beaufort County, a look at other private options and an opportunity to explore adult education opportunities.

To kick off the day, Education Day Chair Debbie Marzluff introduced Whale Branch Principal Mona Lise Dickson, who spoke of the unique opportunities her school offers students who can take college curriculum classes in high school as a head start to a higher education.

Also presenting were Dr. Dereck Rhoads, chief instructional officer of the Beaufort County School District; Dr. Kenneth Flick, dean for Business and Industrial Technologies at Technical College of the Lowcountry (TCL); and Traci Cox, Information Services coordinator for the Beaufort County Public Library. 

A panel discussion was conducted on the partnership between TCL and BCSD. To conclude the morning session, JROTC students led tours of Whale Branch.

At Robert Smalls International Academy, the class met Principal Nicole Holloman. Presentations by Ashley Hutchison, Beaufort County Early Childhood specialist, and Neighborhood Outreach Connection board member Bill Evans concluded the day. 

Local students graduate, named to deans’ lists

The following students have been named to their respective school’s dean’s lists or graduated:

• Madelyn Kalady, of Beaufort, was named to the University of Alabama’s Dean’s List.

• Tiffany Reynolds, of Beaufort, received a Master’s of Education in Instructional Technology from Georgia Southern University.

• Joshua Eubank of Beaufort, has graduated from Kent State University.

• Andrew J. Allorto, of Beaufort, graduated from James Madison University.

Student of the Week – February 9th

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Mercedez DeLaney
Grade: 9
School: Whale Branch Early College High School

Mercedez DeLaney was nominated by band teacher Kathryn Cooke because, “Although she is a rock star student in every way, her perseverance deserves recognition. Mercedez works hard to overcome any obstacle, whether that is learning a new note on clarinet or playing by herself in front of her peers.

“Since Mercedez has been in band she has overcome her fear of playing in front of me, then the other students, and now she actively participates in class. She is the least experienced musician in her band class and she practices, pushes and challenges herself so she can participate in class and better herself on clarinet.

“Mercedez’s perseverance is just one of her many wonderful qualities. She is supportive, creative, polite and overall great to be around.

“She is a voice of encouragement to the other students because she is always lifting her peers with kind words and compliments.”

Mercedez took some time recently to answer a few questions.

Q: What’s your favorite subject and why?

A: My favorite subject is reading because it’s an easy subject for me.

Q: What clubs and activities are you involved in?

A: I’m involved in band.

Q: Who do you admire and why?

A: I admire Ms. Cooke because she is always willing to help me and be there for me.

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

A: Go home and relax.

Q: What’s your favorite movie?

A: “Moana.”

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?

A: “Steven Universe.”

Sorority makes an impact on MLK Day of Service

in School News/Schools by

Pictured above are members of Nu Delta Omega and Upsilon Delta chapters.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is one of six Impact Days for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

This year, Nu Delta Omega Chapter members and members of the newly chartered undergraduate chapter, Upsilon Delta, University of South Carolina-Beaufort, rolled up their sleeves to clean the surroundings of a home occupied by a disabled resident and other sections of Wilmington Street in Beaufort.

They raked, cleaned, picked up and bagged over 40 bags of litter as neighbors helping neighbors.

Ms. Simmons, the recipient of a portion of the service on MLK Day, surprised the group and showed her appreciation by having grilled hot dogs and hamburgers with all the fixings prepared for the participants.

Prior to the service, both chapters participated in Beaufort’s annual MLK Day Parade. Nu Delta Omega has participated in the parade and other scheduled events for MLK Day since the celebration started many years ago.

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