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School briefs for July 20th-26th

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American Legion awards scholarships

Post 9 Commander Chuck Lurey presents Luke Harper, a 2017 graduate of Beaufort Academy, with his educational scholarship. Harper will be attending USC.
Post 9 Commander Chuck Lurey presents Luke Harper, a 2017 graduate of Beaufort Academy, with his educational scholarship. Harper will be attending USC.
Post 9 Commander Chuck Lurey presents John Cole Floyd, a 2017 graduate of the Community Bible Church Christian Academy, with his educational scholarship. Floyd will be attending North Greenville University.
Post 9 Commander Chuck Lurey presents John Cole Floyd, a 2017 graduate of the Community Bible Church Christian Academy, with his educational scholarship. Floyd will be attending North Greenville University.

American Legion Beaufort Post 9 is encouraging educational excellence and good citizenship with the award of scholarships to graduating high school seniors who will be attending universities this fall.  

Luke Harper and John Cole Floyd were selected to receive scholarships in 2017.

Bridges Prep students continue studies at camps

While most students are enjoying a summer away from classes, more than a dozen Bridges Prep students are expanding their international connections and leadership skills at two New England camps in July.

Eight students, a guidance counselor and Bridges Prep’s new Upper School principal, Chris Wilson, traveled to Maine in mid-July. 

There they attended a Leadership Camp at Colby College, followed by tours of historic Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and New York City.

They were working on their leadership skills alongside students from China, Greece and Maine, Bridges Prep Head of School Dr. Nick Ithomitis said.

The following week, a second group of eight Bridges Prep students and two staff members traveled to Maine for a YMCA Camp where they partnered with students from China.

Also this month, Bridges Prep families will host several students from China as they visit Beaufort.

“It is so important for young people to understand and appreciate that the world is bigger than Beaufort, bigger than South Carolina and, as great a nation as we are, it’s an international economy now,” Ithomitis said. “International study and making connections to students from other countries is an essential part of the Bridges Prep experience.”

The international study, Bridges’ emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), its commitment to the Paideia teaching and learning method, and overall high student achievement and growth in achievement combined in Spring 2017 to earn the school the State Charter School District’s highest award. As a School of Distinction, Bridges Prep also was named one of the top three state charter schools in South Carolina in May.

“We take pride in helping our students achieve, and offering these international study trips is one more avenue to education,” Bridges board Chair Dee Matthews said. “At the same time, we are expanding our high school curriculum and will be encouraging our students to try more rigorous and challenging courses.”

In November, 17 students and eight staff and parents will tour Greece for about 12 days and visit Bridges’ partner school in Thessaloniki.  

In April 2018, school leaders hope to send another group of students to China. Other international study trips include Italy and possibly Portugal in 2018-2019.

Bridges Preparatory School was chartered by South Carolina in mid-2012 and opened at near capacity in August 2013. Since then, enrollment has grown steadily with almost 600 students enrolled in K-9 this year. For the 2017-2018 school year, Bridges Prep will expand to 10th grade and in two years will be a full-service K-12 state charter school.

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

Local students produce educational games

The Education Station at the Santa Elena History Center has unique digital games created by students. Photo provided.
The Education Station at the Santa Elena History Center has unique digital games created by students. Photo provided.

A convergence of three local institutions – one with college coursework focused on local history, one a local business that supports educational initiatives, and one a new history center seeking dynamic ways to tell a story – have led to the establishment of the Education Station, sponsored by Kinghorn Insurance of Beaufort, at the Santa Elena History Center.

Professor Dr. Brian Canada, of the University of South Carolina Beaufort, challenged his students to create programming projects with a Santa Elena theme in mind. This resulted in unique digital games developed around many aspects of Santa Elena, the Spanish settlement of 1566 on Port Royal Sound.

“From building puzzles of old maps to racing in ships across the Atlantic and conducting commerce throughout the village – the variety and quality of games produced by local students, about local history, is very impressive,” said Megan Meyer, director of the Santa Elena History Center. 

“We’re so grateful that the team at Kinghorn Insurance believed in this project and made it possible. Furthermore, we are grateful to Dr. Canada and USCB students for contributing one-of-a-kind games to share with the public.”

These games are available for children of all ages to enjoy during their visit to the Santa Elena History Center, adding to the menu of child-friendly resources and showcasing the work by USCB students in a public institution. Due to success of this project, Canada will continue with future classes, allowing the inventory of games in the Education Station to remain dynamic.

“Kinghorn Insurance of Beaufort is honored and proud to partner with Santa Elena and USCB to help promote education for youth in the community,” states a release. “This partnership will provide an opportunity to better understand the rich history, culture, significance and beauty of the Lowcountry. Kinghorn Insurance of Beaufort would also like to thank the many individuals that have donated time, talent and money to develop the Santa Elena Foundation as it truly has become a gem of Beaufort.”

To learn more about the Santa Elena History Center, visit santa-elena.org.

School briefs for July 13th-19th

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Student data, instruction focus of ‘Our Schools’ 

The Beaufort County School District’s Instructional Services division and the many ways that educators use student achievement data highlight the most recent “Our Schools” television program, which is airing on the County Channel. 

In addition to Superintendent Jeff Moss, the show also includes Dereck Rhoads, chief instructional services officer; N’Kia Campbell, director of academic initiatives; Karen Gilbert, career and technology education coordinator; Daniel Fallon, director of accountability; Celestine LaVan, principal of Shanklin Elementary School; and Ashley Weber, a first-grade teacher at Shanklin Elementary.

“Our Schools” will air four times weekly: at 11:30 a.m. Mondays, 9 p.m. Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m. Thursdays and 12:30 p.m. Saturdays.  The broadcast will air on local cable networks: Comcast’s Channel 2, Hargray’s channels 9 and 113, and Spectrum Channel 63. The show also will air at those times on the County Channel’s website at www.bcgov.net/departments/community-services/county-channel/index.php

Local students graduate from Park University

Park University’s Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station Campus Center held its commencement ceremony on June 2 at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island Theater. 

Local graduates include Pablo E. Barrios, Brian Blecha, Keisha Danielle Bristow, Anthony J. Dobrinsky, Dwayne W. Farr, Debbra Ann Green Jones, Jack James Hunt, Lashae R. Lovett-Veal, Quang Lap Ly, Michelle L. Mayer, Chelsea N. Morales, Jonathan M. Peluso, Jordan D. Orellana Buitron, Kristine R. Raphael and Gabriel C. Thrower, all of Beaufort; Lisa L. Glover and Robin Green, both of St. Helena Island; and Irene E. Kellar of Port Royal.

School briefs for July 6th-12th

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School district selects Whale Branch contractor

The Beaufort County School District has selected a general contractor to supervise the building of a competition gymnasium and a performing arts center for Whale Branch Early College High School.

South Carolina-based M.B. Kahn Construction, which has offices across the Southeast, was the district’s top choice at the end of a selection process regulated by district and state procurement policies.  

The company, rated by Engineering News Record as one of the nation’s Top 100 construction management firms, has completed more than 340 K-12 school projects over the past two decades.

Six firms submitted proposals for the two Whale Branch projects, and their proposals were independently evaluated and scored by a panel of reviewers. Each of the six competing companies was rated based on the quality of its experience, past performance, personnel and the specifics of its project proposal.

As the district’s general contractor, M.B. Kahn will be responsible for supervising all aspects of building Whale Branch Early College High School’s new competition gym as well as its new performing arts center.  

District officials hope to open the school’s new competition gym in fall 2018 and the performing arts center in spring 2019.

Local students are named to deans’ lists

Nicole Clemons of Beaufort was named to the University of Rhode Island Spring 2017 Dean’s List.

Additionally, the following local students were named to the Dean’s List at Clemson University for the spring 2017 semester: Mary Margaret Bell Achurch, Jean Bridgers, Maya Dixon, Shelby L. Duncan, Sarah E. Fosberry, Benjamin L. Hetherington, Andrew T. McDaniel, Kody L. McHale, Jonah Richard Miller, Frances Dunbar Myrick, Tucker D. Pettigrew, Kayla Lynn Pope, Taylor S. Rabon, Jantzen Colie Raymond, Alexandra A. Sebestyen, Shivin S. Shetty and Kurt James Weaver, all of Beaufort.

Sanford is accepting internship applications

The office of U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-SC, is accepting applications for fall 2017 internships, which run from mid-August through early December. 

The program gives interns a glimpse into the legislative process in Washington D.C. while providing them with a way to test the waters of a given field by working on projects related to their interests.

For more information on this program, call 202-225-3176.

Students get up close to marine life

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Photo above: Bob Bender, left, tries to get the student to join him. Others in the group, standing in the background, point to a dolphin jumping in the water. Most of the students had never seen a dolphin in the wild. Photos by Bob Sofaly.

By Chuck Newton 

About 30 high school students and counselors from Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida learned about the coastal environment on June 22 at The Sands in Port Royal. 

The students are part of the six-week-long Resident Program of the mathematics and science division of Claflin University’s Upward Bound program, according to Kalinn Halls, one of the program’s counselors. 

“The program helps high school students study math and science away from their own school environment with weekly field trips,” she said.

These students were taking part in the “Live Between the Tides” program, said Bob Bender, curator of the Low Country Estuarial and Coastal Learning Center in Port Royal.

Bender showed the mostly inner city students that fragile life can be found even under a simple rock. He also explained how tides affect the environment while trying to catch a baby stone crab. 

“When we are done here,” he said, “we’ll gently place this rock back in place so as not to disturb where these animals live.”

Students in Claflin University’s Upward Bound program take a photo of the baby stone crab being displayed by Bob Bender.
Students in Claflin University’s Upward Bound program take a photo of the baby stone crab being displayed by Bob Bender.

 

 

School briefs for June 29th-July 5th

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Beaufort County teachers, from left, Kimberly Morris, Karen Kessinger and Kathleen Marshall, took part in a program to bring agriculture education into the classroom. The South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation’s Ag in the Classroom Summer Teacher Institute allowed SC educators to tour Lowcountry-area farms and gain firsthand knowledge about agriculture in South Carolina. Photo provided.
Beaufort County teachers, from left, Kimberly Morris, Karen Kessinger and Kathleen Marshall, took part in a program to bring agriculture education into the classroom. The South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation’s Ag in the Classroom Summer Teacher Institute allowed SC educators to tour Lowcountry-area farms and gain firsthand knowledge about agriculture in South Carolina. Photo provided.

SC Farm Bureau teaches agriculture in classroom

Beaufort County teachers Kimberly Morris, Karen Kessinger and Kathleen Marshall were among 50 educators from across the South Carolina who recently learned how to bring agriculture into their classrooms. 

The South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation (SCFB) hosted its annual Ag in the Classroom Summer Teacher Institute June 5-9 in Charleston, where teachers of grades preK-8 in public and private schools learned the importance of family farms and farmers and how to teach agricultural lessons to their students.

“The Ag in the Classroom program has many benefits because we can educate teachers about the importance of agriculture, and those teachers are then going to take that back to their own classrooms of sometimes 30 students. The overall outreach of the program is unmatched,” said Harry Ott, SCFB president.

In addition to instruction about their learning and teaching styles, Institute participants heard from agriculture and education experts from Clemson University’s College Relations/Ag Careers Department, Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, the SC Ag Statistics Department and the SC Department of Agriculture. 

Participants also experienced two days of farm tours in the Lowcountry, including a USDA Research and Education Center, the Charleston Tea Plantation, Dantzler Farms in Santee and Terry Thomas Dairy Farm in Bowman.

“It is so important that students learn where their food and resources come from,” said Vonne Knight, SCFB director of Ag Literacy. “Providing teachers with not only the information and lesson plans they need, but also the confidence to teach agriculture makes it easy for them to do just that.

“I never cease to be amazed at the positive agricultural impact this course makes in the lives of teachers from across the state during this one week,” said Knight. “Teachers leave with a greater understanding of and appreciation for agriculture. I have never been part of a more rewarding higher education experience.”

Participants earned three hours of graduate credit for recertification from Winthrop University, courtesy of SCFB’s Ag in the Classroom Fund. Along with a modest registration fee, which many county Farm Bureau chapters reimburse to participants, sponsorships raised through the SCFB’s Ag in the Classroom Fund cover the cost of tuition, room and board, resource speakers and tours, and materials for the week-long Institute.

“If agriculture is to maintain its status as South Carolina’s largest business sector – providing more than 212,000 jobs and more than a $42 billion impact on South Carolina’s economy – we’ve got to help people understand the link between their food and fiber and the farm,” said Ott. “Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program is a tool to help us accomplish that goal through our state’s teachers, and in turn to our state’s children.”

To make a tax deductible contribution to the 501(c)(3) Ag in the Classroom program, for more information, or to schedule an in-service workshop, contact SCFB Ag Literacy Program Director Vonne Knight at 803-936-4409 or vknight@scfb.org.

Education veterans selected as principals

A trio of veteran educators will fill the top leadership posts at three district schools:  Beaufort High, Whale Branch Middle and Robert Smalls International Academy.

“This is a strong group of proven administrators who are well qualified to take on their new positions,” said Superintendant Jeff Moss.  “I’m confident they will all do terrific jobs.”

The new principals are:

• Bonnie Almond, Beaufort High School: Almond is a 32-year education veteran who has served in North Carolina schools as a teacher, assistant principal, elementary school principal and high school principal. She was honored as Lee County Schools Principal of the Year in 2007-08.  

In 2013 she moved to Beaufort County, where she served as director of Secondary Education and later as director of Innovation.  Almond has a Bachelor’s Degree from Meredith College and a Master’s Degree in School Administration from North Carolina State University.  

She replaces Corey Murphy, who recently accepted an administrative position in a Virginia school system.

• Jennifer Morillo, Robert Smalls International Academy: Morillo is a veteran principal and district-level administrator. After serving as an assistant principal at Lady’s Island Middle School, she was named principal of Beaufort Elementary School in 2009.  

The school earned Palmetto Silver Awards for student achievement in 2012 and 2013, as well as Teacher Advancement Program awards in 2011, 2012 and 2013.  

Since 2013, Morillo has served as the Beaufort County School District’s director of Teaching and Learning. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Charleston Southern University.  

Morillo replaces Nicole Holloman, who is leaving the district to take an administrative position in the Atlanta area.

• Freddie Lawton, Whale Branch Middle School: Lawton, an assistant principal at Whale Branch Middle for the past four years, previously served in assistant principal roles at Okatie and St. Helena elementary schools, and also for six years as a classroom teacher at Port Royal Elementary.  

Lawton has been a presenter at state and regional professional development conferences, and he participated in the South Carolina Department of Education’s Aspiring Principals Program in 2011-2012.  

He has a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Carolina, as well as a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from Charleston Southern University.  

Lawton replaces Chad Cox, recently named as the new principal at Battery Creek High following the retirement of Principal Edmond Burnes.

Students named to dean’s lists

The following students were named to Dean’s Lists:

• University of Alabama student Madelyn R Kalady of Beaufort was named to the Dean’s List for Spring 2017.

• Megan Potter of Beaufort was named to the Dean’s List at Miami University for the 2017 spring semester.

Reverend Pinckney Scholars are named

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The Coastal Community Foundation has announced the second set of scholarship recipients of the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program, established at the foundation in memory of the late Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney and in response to the June 17, 2015 massacre at Emanuel AME Church.  

“Furthering your education was always important to Clementa. He valued it and felt it should not be taken for granted,” said Jennifer Pinckney, widow of Rev. Pinckney. “I know that he is smiling down as he sees all of the Pinckney Scholars moving forward in life to improve upon themselves and strive to make a better future. This year’s group of scholars are amazing.” 

The four-year renewable scholarship program, which is dedicated to promoting access to higher education for African-American students, will benefit 11 Class of 2017 scholars from Beaufort, Charleston and Jasper counties who will receive a total of approximately $80,000 for each of their four years of college, in addition to supportive resources (professional development and networking opportunities) through the foundation during their college career.  

“Our Class of 2017 Pinckney Scholars embody an impressive variety of intellectual interests and life experiences,” said author, historian, and Harvard professor Dr. Henry Louis Gates. “What unites them, though, is their passion for learning, and the use of education to effect positive social change in their communities. These students are destined for greatness, and I am honored to be part of the committee that has the privilege of selecting them.” 

The class of 2017 Reverend Pinckney Scholars from the local area include:

Pictured above from left: Bill Lewis, Joe Riley, Davontay Dopson, Jennifer Pinckney, Skip Gates, and Josh Steiner.
Pictured above from left: Bill Lewis, Joe Riley, Davontay Dopson, Jennifer Pinckney, Skip Gates, and Josh Steiner.

• Davontay Dopson, Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School (Newberry College) 

Pictured above from left: Bill Lewis, Joe Riley, Ambriance Lamar, Jennifer Pinckney, Skip Gates, and Josh Steiner.
Pictured above from left: Bill Lewis, Joe Riley, Ambriance Lamar, Jennifer Pinckney, Skip Gates, and Josh Steiner.

• Ambriance Lamar, Whale Branch Early College High School (Converse College)  

Pictured above from left: Bill Lewis, Joe Riley, Briona Millidge, Jennifer Pinckney, Skip Gates, and Josh Steiner.
Pictured above from left: Bill Lewis, Joe Riley, Briona Millidge, Jennifer Pinckney, Skip Gates, and Josh Steiner.

• Briona Millidge, Whale Branch Early College High School (Winthrop University)

Pictured above from left: Bill Lewis, Joe Riley, Shawna Wright, Jennifer Pinckney, Skip Gates, and Josh Steiner.
Pictured above from left: Bill Lewis, Joe Riley, Shawna Wright, Jennifer Pinckney, Skip Gates, and Josh Steiner.

 

• Shawna Wright, Whale Branch Early College High School (Winthrop University) 

Scholars are eligible to renew their award each year by maintaining good standing in the program, with an expected total award of $320,000 to the Class of 2017 over their four years of college. 

The program — now in its second year — is supporting 21 students in total with a dollar amount of nearly $160,000 being awarded in the 2017-2018 academic year.

“This program gives promising students an opportunity to attend their first-choice schools,” said Darrin Goss Sr., president and CEO of Coastal Community Foundation. “Feeling a sense of belonging in the place where one studies is a key ingredient to academic, social and civic engagement so this difference is integral to student achievement.” 

Programming for new scholars will begin this summer with an initial orientation session on July 15 covering topics pertaining to the college transition, such as time management and on-campus resources. 

All Pinckney Scholars (Class of 2016 and Class of 2017) will attend a luncheon and professional development session with former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Dr. James A. Joseph. 

Each scholar and a guest will be invited to attend the Coastal Community Foundation’s annual gala celebration that evening where Joseph is scheduled to give the keynote speech. 

About the program

On July 2, 2015, a group of anonymous donors, moved by the tragic murders at Mother Emanuel AME Church and Charleston’s remarkable response to the shooting, created a $3.2 million scholarship fund in honor of the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney. 

In March 2016, Coastal Community Foundation began to administer the scholarship fund and its companion program, the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program.  

About Coastal Community Foundation 

Coastal Community Foundation empowers individuals, families and organizations to make a lasting impact through permanent, endowed funds for charitable giving. The Foundation serves Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry and Jasper counties. 

To learn more, visit www.coastalcommunityfoundation.org or call 843- 723-3635.

School briefs for June 22nd-28th

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Students give back in the Lowcountry

More than 350 students from across the nation have been visiting the Lowcountry to lend their time and talents to helping make life better for elderly, disabled and families in need throughout Beaufort and Jasper Counties. 

The United Way of the Lowcountry coordinated the 18th Annual Catholic HEART Work Camp.  

During the Catholic HEART (Helping Everyone Attain Repairs Today) Work Camp program, the students, along with 100-plus adult leaders and several local volunteers will work together on at least 55 projects throughout the community. Work ranges from yard work and minor repairs to installing handicap ramps.  

In addition to working on residential homes, some of the groups will be working on projects with agencies throughout the community.  

Student volunteers come from all over the country, and were housed at the Hardeeville School Complex. 

“These young people make a big impact in just a few short days by doing simple home repairs including painting, yard work, cleaning, repairing screens and anything else that is difficult for an elderly or handicapped person to accomplish,” said said Bethany Marcinkowski, United Way of the Lowcountry’s vice president of Education Impact. 

“With the impacts of Hurricane Matthew, there is a big need for these types of services and we’re excited to have this wonderful group of kids in our community to help us meet the needs of our neighbors.”

Each of the groups had an adult leader and were assigned to projects throughout Beaufort and Jasper counties.  

“This program’s mission is to revitalize communities and beautify homes of the elderly, the disabled and those who cannot afford needed repairs,” said Marcinkowski. “This falls right in line with United Way of the Lowcountry’s Community Impact agenda, which includes working to meet the basic needs of our neighbors by transforming substandard homes into safe living conditions.”

Operation Backpack needs school supplies 

The United Way of the Lowcountry is currently collecting school supplies and donations as part of Operation Backpack.  

Operation Backpack is an initiative of United Way of the Lowcountry Women United, providing local students in need with backpacks full of school supplies and uniform shirts to start school in the fall.    

Operation Backpack aims to fill the gap and help students who are not served by other agencies by working with local guidance counselors and social workers to identify children needing school supplies at several schools throughout the Beaufort and Jasper counties.  

Last year, Operation Backpack provided backpacks for more than 465 students.  

The initiative has expanded this year and will serve more than 600 students throughout Beaufort and Jasper counties.   

United Way of the Lowcountry is currently collecting school supplies and monetary donations for Operation Backpack.  

The list of school supplies include:

• Pocket folders (2 pockets)

• Crayola Washable Markers

• #2 pencils (box of 12 count)

• Ruler (12 inch, clear if possible)

• Glue sticks

• Composition notebooks (marble)

• Index cards

• Highlighter (Yellow)

• Hand sanitizer 

• Box of facial tissue

• Crayons (24 count)

• Filler paper

• Zipper-seal quart and gallon bags

• Wet Wipes

• Paper towels

• Gift cards (Old Navy and Walmart)

Monetary donations and gift cards will be used to purchase size-specific uniform shirts and additional school supplies.  

Monetary donations can be made online at www.uwlowcountry.org or by check.  

Checks should be made out to United Way of the Lowcountry with “Operation Backpack” in the memo.

Gift cards and checks should be mailed to: United Way of the Lowcountry, P.O. Box 202, Beaufort, SC  29901.

Donation boxes have been placed at various locations throughout the Lowcountry including:  

• United Way of the Lowcountry Offices in Beaufort at 1277 Ribaut Road

• Beaufort Jasper Water & Sewer Authority, 6 Snake Road, Okatie

• Lowcountry Insurance, 80 Lady’s Island Drive, Lady’s Island

• YMCA, 1801 Richmond Ave., Port Royal 

• One Blood, 1001 Boundary St., Suite A, Beaufort

 For more information, visit www.uwlowcountry.org.  

Beaufort students graduate from college

The following students are recent graduates:

• Olivia Wingate graduated from Emerson College in Boston with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Studies.

• Walicia Patterson graduated from the University of South Carolina.

Schools briefs for June 15th-21st

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BA hires new director of music program

varner
Vic Varner

Vic Varner has been named the director of the new Vocal Music and Guitar program at Beaufort Academy. 

He is creating the new vocal music program for the school for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year. He will be working with Lower, Middle and Upper school students.

Varner grew up in the Park Circle area of North Charleston. His undergraduate degree is in music education from Charleston Southern University and his Master’s of Music Education is from Winthrop University. 

He achieved Kodály Certification from studies at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, and studied jazz arranging under artist Phil Mattson at Southwest College in Creston, Iowa.

Varner developed a “solfege” approach for teaching sight reading that has been adopted by numerous music educators in South Carolina.  

He retired from 30 years of high school music education in 2011. His school choirs have performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and have been nationally ranked in competitions from Orlando to Toronto.  

Since “retirement,” Varner has been teaching music courses at USCB and continuing his 40-plus years in church music as director of music at First Presbyterian Church of Beaufort. 

A singer/guitarist, Varner also works as a performer and recording artist at venues throughout the Southeast.  

He has been featured at Hilton Head’s Jazz Corner, Palmetto Bluff’s “Music to Your Mouth” jazz series and Charleston’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival.

Varner is returning to high school teaching because he misses creating order out of chaos and developing young people into musicians.  

“The biggest thrill for me is to see the light bulb click over a student’s head the moment he or she understands musical intervals. Simply put … I am a music educator and I love it.” 

Varner has plans to develop a first-class choral program where students are developing individual musicianship with a strong ensemble approach. The school is looking forward to seeing its students perform in major concerts and other community performances.

In time, the guitar students will hopefully emerge as an accompaniment for the singers, but will also be featured as a separate ensemble. 

Enrollment at Beaufort Academy is still open. Call 843-524-3393 or email Admissions Director MJ Simmons at mjsimmons@beaufortacademy.org. 

Visit www.BeaufortAcademy.org.

Schools announce Dean’s List, grads

The following students were named to Wofford College’s Spring 2017 Dean’s List: Michael Christian Bass and Laura Derenne Roddey, both of Beaufort. 

Tucker Langehans, also of Beaufort, was named to the Dean’s List at Grove City College.

Following are students who graduated from Wofford on May 21: 

• Mary Catherine Carmody received a bachelor of arts degree in English. Carmody is from Beaufort.

• Finn Arnung Koppernaes received a bachelor of arts degree in finance with a minor in economics. Koppernaes is from Beaufort.

• Laura Derenne Roddey received a bachelor of science degree in psychology with a minor in art history. Roddey is from Beaufort.

Summer reading camps provide student support

The South Carolina Department of Education and school districts across the state are gearing up to provide additional support and time on task for struggling third-grade readers through Read to Succeed Summer Reading Camps. 

Reading camps serve students with severe reading difficulties by providing them with the necessary skills to become successful lifelong readers.  

During the summer reading camps, students are taught by highly qualified teachers who have experience working with students with severe reading difficulties to improve their reading, writing and critical thinking skills. 

Students will have the opportunity to receive small group and individual instruction to meet their specific reading needs.  

“Our students deserve every opportunity to strengthen their reading skills to ensure a successful future,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “We encourage all families of third-grade students having severe reading difficulties to contact your district to find out more about the literacy supports that will be provided at summer reading camps.” 

A person’s ability to read is a critical predictor of educational and lifelong success. A strong reading program, like Read to Succeed, beginning in kindergarten and continuing into the third grade and beyond, gives students the best possible chance to maximize their education and lifelong success. 

Beginning in fourth grade, a student must be prepared to comprehend facts in social studies and science, understand word problems in math, and interpret complex materials in language arts.

Results from South Carolina’s statewide assessment, SC READY, show that only 44 percent of third graders met or exceeded standards in English language arts, which includes reading, in 2016. Like other states, South Carolina recognized the need to combat alarming statistical trends that are associated with the inability to read by the end of third grade, including increased drop-out rates and fewer employment opportunities.  

The Read to Succeed Act is a strong initiative that focuses on mastery of reading skills before students advance to fourth grade. The Act requires each district to develop a comprehensive annual reading proficiency plan for Pre-K to 12th-grade students, establishes student reading intervention programs as early as kindergarten and mandates all initially licensed K-12 teachers to complete additional training to receive a Read to Succeed endorsement. 

Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, third-grade students who are not reading on grade level may be retained. Retention can provide students with severe reading difficulties the additional time they need to gain the necessary reading skills to be successful in fourth grade and beyond.  

For additional information on Summer Reading Camps,  visit ed.sc.gov/summer-reading-camps.

School district offers summer lunch program

The Beaufort County School District is offering a Summer Food Service Program to students who are participating in a variety of summer programs across the county. Meals will be provided to all eligible children free of charge.

Acceptance and participation requirements for the program are the same for all regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. 

Meals will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis and will be provided at various sites to children who are participating in several summer programs:

Boys and Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry (lunches):

• Bridges Club, 1100 Boundary St. in Beaufort, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through July 21.

• Sheldon Club, 21 Agnes Major Road in Sheldon, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. through July 28.

To enroll in the Boys & Girls Club Summer Camps, contact your local Boys & Girls Club office.

St. Helena Migrant Camp (lunches and dinners):

• 1025 Sea Island Parkway on St. Helena Island, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for lunch; 4:30-5:30 p.m. for dinner through July 7

To enroll in the St. Helena Migrant Camp, contact the Migrant Office at 843-838-6868. Enrollees of the Migrant Camp must be students in kindergarten through grade 12, and students’ families must have moved within the last 36 months for the purpose of engaging in agriculture.

Beaufort County YMCA (lunches):

• 1801 Richmond Ave. in Port Royal, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Aug. 16.

School briefs for June 8th-14th

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Bridges Preparatory hires Upper School principal

Chris Wilson
Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson has been named as the Upper School principal at Bridges Prep effective July 1.  

As principal for Bridges Prep’s Upper School, Wilson will be the academic leader for grades 8-10 next year and eventually grades 9-12. Bridges Head of School Dr. Nick Ithomitis announced the hiring as school ended at the fast-growing Bridges Prep state charter school. This spring, the SC Public Charter School District named Bridges a “School of Distinction” and one of the top three state charter schools for academics.  

“Chris comes to us with a strong high school teaching background and an excellent academic record,” Ithomitis said of Wilson.  

“One thing that stood out during the interview process was Chris’s continual and steadfast commitment to students. “Folks who know Chris have commented that he will be a ‘perfect fit for Bridges Prep.’ We are excited to have him on board as we expand into a full K-12 school,” Ithomitis said. 

In accepting the position Wilson said, “Bridges Prep is doing so many things right. It’s a wonderful opportunity to grow with the school and bring some of my skills and experiences to help. I am excited by the challenge and humbled by the news that I was selected.” 

Dee Matthews, chair of the Bridges Prep board of directors, said Wilson’s hiring comes at a critical juncture for the rapidly-growing state charter school. 

“As Bridges continues to grow in both enrollment and academic rigor, we needed someone to help with our academic leadership and administration. We are fortunate to have found someone with such a strong background and history of community involvement as Mr. Wilson, and we are excited to have him join our school,” she said. 

Prior to taking the Bridges Prep leadership role, Wilson was band director at Beaufort High School. He is rated as highly qualified in music education, teaching instrumental music. 

He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Southern Illinois University and his Master’s in Educational Administration from McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill. 

Wilson taught for 16 years in Illinois, spending the last 13 years in the Highland School District, where he taught instrumental music, general music and directed the spring musical.  

Over the years, in addition to his teaching duties, he has performed with the Edwardsville Municipal Band, Highland Municipal Band, St. Louis Brass Band, Christ Memorial Lutheran Church Orchestra in St. Louis,  White Bluff Methodist Church in Savannah and the Baptist Church of Beaufort. He has also been a marching percussion instructor for several schools in Illinois over the past 20 years. 

Bridges Preparatory School was chartered by South Carolina in mid-2012 and opened at near capacity in August 2013. Since then, enrollment has grown steadily with almost 600 students enrolled in K-9 this year. For the 2017-2018 school year, Bridges Prep will expand to 10th grade and in two years will be a full-service K-12 state charter school. 

To learn more about Bridges Preparatory School, visit www.bridgesprep.org or call 843-9827737.  

Local students earn kudos, degrees

Several local students have been named to the dean’s list and/or graduated. They are:

• Lorain Tascoe-Bey, of Beaufort, graduated with a Master’s of Science from Springfield College.

• The following student were named to the spring Dean’s List at Coastal Carolina University: Michael Gompper, Mary Hart, Tyshanna Major, Alexis Mesel, Daniel Mock, Olivia Walker and Victoria Wheelen, all of Beaufort.

School briefs for June 1st-7th

in School News/Schools by
The Etta Mann Non-Traditional Women’s Scholarship is given each May in memory of longtime Beaufort educator Etta Mann to a woman who exemplifies the ideals of AAUW, empowering women who face challenges and overcome them to complete their college degree. This year’s recipient is Sharonica Gavin,who has been working for several years to complete her Health Services degree from USCB, and the Beaufort Chapter of AAUW applauds her effort and tenacity. From left are Dr. Rebecca Cooper, president of AAUW; Dr. Celeste Nawalsky, president-elect; Gavin; and Sarah Jorgensen, scholarship committee. Photo sbmitted by Mary Hope Roseneau, AAUW publicity chair.
The Etta Mann Non-Traditional Women’s Scholarship is given each May in memory of longtime Beaufort educator Etta Mann to a woman who exemplifies the ideals of AAUW, empowering women who face challenges and overcome them to complete their college degree. This year’s recipient is Sharonica Gavin,who has been working for several years to complete her Health Services degree from USCB, and the Beaufort Chapter of AAUW applauds her effort and tenacity. From left are Dr. Rebecca Cooper, president of AAUW; Dr. Celeste Nawalsky, president-elect; Gavin; and Sarah Jorgensen, scholarship committee. Photo sbmitted by Mary Hope Roseneau, AAUW publicity chair.

Whale Branch seniors earn two-year degrees

Six Whale Branch Early College High School seniors picked up their high school diplomas on May 26 having already earned two years of college course credits.

The students took advantage of a partnership with the Technical College of the Lowcountry that allows Whale Branch students to take college courses – and earn two-year associate’s degrees – while still in high school and at no cost to themselves or their parents.  The TCL degree represents a two-year head-start as the students work toward earning a bachelor’s degree or entering the workforce.

The six Whale Branch seniors actually earned “double” TCL associate’s degrees in both Arts and Science.  

They are Thomas Felver, Destiny Hall, Briona Millidge, Liliana Molina, Thomas Vicuna and Judah Wood.

Twelve other Whale Branch seniors graduated with college certificates for completing significant college-level coursework at TCL. They are: Ebony Beasley, Tariq Clark, Kendra Crawford, George Delaney, Jordan Johnson, Kaya Maat, Elisabeth McMillan, Micaela Minter-Ford, Dayvon Polite, Tyleasha Robinson, Evelyn Serrano-Mundo and Shawna Wright.

“Students and their parents are the big winners,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss. “Students can earn four-year college degrees in just two years, so they pay for only two years of tuition.  Earning college credits without having to pay for them is a good deal.”

The joint WBECHS-TCL initiative is completing its sixth year.  While any district student can take college-level courses at TCL, Whale Branch High’s instructional program is built around its TCL partnership.  

Public works plants trees with students

The end of spring break provided a surprise for some Beaufort County students.  

Beaufort County’s Public Works Department, Solid Waste and Recycling Section, received a grant through Keep Beaufort County Beautiful, and partnered with Beaufort County School District staff to identify three schools to receive a fruit tree garden.  

Each garden was planted with a mixture of 11 different varieties of apple and pear trees.

Trees were planted at James J. Davis Early Childhood Center, St. Helena Elementary and Whale Branch Elementary to provide fresh snacks and to help promote healthy food choices. The tree gardens will also add to the students’ environmental studies.

Thirty trees were purchased by Keep Beaufort County Beautiful with funds provided by a Keep America Beautiful/UPS Foundation tree grant.  

The tree vendor, Ty Ty Nursery, was so impressed with the project that it donated an additional 30 trees, allowing for a total of 60 trees to be planted – 20 at each school. Trees were shipped at “fruit-bearing” size in an effort to bring quick results for the students.  The gardens are expected to yield fruit this fall.

The school district provided site preparation. The Beaufort County’s Public Works staff and a volunteer team from Horticulture Management Services enhanced the soils and planted all the trees. Watering will be provided by the students along with school district staff.

Local students graduate college

Local residents graduated from Clemson University at the May 2017 commencement ceremonies.

They are:

• Jameel Mahmoud Abbess IV, of Beaufort, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.

• Madeline B. Anderson, of Beaufort, who graduated with a Master of Education in Counselor Education.

• Savannah N. Bowman, of Beaufort, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies,

• Jean C. Bridgers, of Beaufort, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management.

• Michelle Marie Britton, of Beaufort, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

• Zachary A. Brown, of Beaufort, who graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Financial Management.

• Katelin Ann Edlin, of Beaufort, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

• Hope Yu Jie Keane, of Beaufort, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology.

• Luca Clinton Kimbrell, of Beaufort, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education.

•  Adam E. Lipsitz, of Beaufort, who graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering.

• Elizabeth C. Rhodes , of Beaufort, who graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology.

• Grace D. Stewart , of Beaufort, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Language and International Health.

• Frances Carolyn Thorpe , of Beaufort, who graduated with a Master of Public Administration in Public Administration.

More than 3,400 students received degrees at the May 11 and 12 ceremonies.

Promotions, additions at Beaufort Academy

There are several new additions to the Beaufort Academy’s team.

Carol Ann Richards, learning specialist; Lower School curriculum coordinator

Carol Ann Richards
Carol Ann Richards

Carol Ann Richards is Beaufort Academy’s learning specialist as well as its new Lower School curriculum coordinator. She is originally from Hampton, but moved to Beaufort a little over 10 years ago.  

She graduated from Winthrop University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education.  

Richards attended graduate school at Columbia College and received a Master of Education degree in Divergent Learning.  

This is currently her 20th year of teaching. She was a special education resource teacher for 11 years in the public school systems of Hampton, Lexington and Beaufort counties. This is her ninth year as the learning specialist for Beaufort Academy.  Carol Ann’s daughter, Ava, is a rising second grader and has been attending BA since Pre K-3.  Her husband, Scott, is the head football coach for BA.

Kimberly Morris, third-grade teacher

Kimberly Morris
Kimberly Morris

Kimberly Morris was born and raised in Chapin and has been teaching for 10 years. 

She graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies, and remained at USC for her first graduate degree, a Master of Arts in Teaching, which she earned in 2006. In 2013 she completed her second Masters, an M.Ed. with a focus in Elementary Administration and Supervision from Southern Wesleyan University. 

Morris has several years’ experience as an educational and behavioral consultant, and is children’s/young adult acquisitions editor for Lowcountry Scholars Press. In 2015 she served as a member of the national selection committee for the National Endowment for the Humanities K12 teachers’ institute “America’s Reconstruction: The Untold Story,” and will be assisting with the institute again in the summer of 2017. 

She is married to Dr. J. Brent Morris, who is an author and history professor at USC Beaufort.  They have one son, Daegan, a rising BA second-grader.

Peggy Good, fourth-grade teacher

Peggy Good
Peggy Good

Peggy Good grew up in New Jersey in a home of educators and has spent the past 10 years in New Canaan, Ct., with her two children. 

Her family has spent summers at Fripp Island where Good’s parents reside.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from The Catholic University of America. She has done post graduate work at the Maryland School of Law and is completing her Master’s in Special Education at Fairfield University.  

Her 10-year teaching experience has been in Montclair, N.J., and Stamford, Ct., at the elementary level (six of those years she spent as a fourth grade teacher).

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