Education News: Feb. 11, 2018


Lee County School District


The Bishopville Primary School Thunderbird Dance Team performed at the district's school board meeting on Jan. 16. January 2018 was National School Board Recognition month, and the students took the time to salute and recognize Syliva Scott, the school's selected board member. Taylor Lewis provided an introduction of Scott in regard to her service and dedication to Lee County School District.

Students in Shirley Armstrong's second-grade class participated in a literacy rotation. The students read and summarized a story by drawing pictures of their favorite characters. The ultimate goal of literacy instruction is to build a student's comprehension, writing skills and overall skills in communication.

Tammie Jackson, first-grade teacher at Bishopville Primary, received a grant from titled "Using Technology to Touch and Inspire Learners." With this grant, Jackson received 11 Amazon Fire Tablets and covers for her students. Tablets in the classroom will open doors for students that a regular textbook or worksheet does not allow. For example, using tablets will offer the opportunity to adapt to the diversity of learning styles of the students and keep them engaged. "As an educator, it will help me prepare my students for the real world environment," Jackson said.


Lower Lee Elementary School Principal Shelia Stukes rewarded good citizens for the month of January with a pizza party. The teachers selected students who consistently demonstrated the 3Rs: Ready, Respectful and Responsible.

Lower Lee would like to extend a big "bear hug" to Jacorae Joye, Erin Washington, Kaziah Slater, Tazion Boyd, Kaniya Durant, Jaquan Alston, Chastity Isaac, George Parrott, Montez Gregg, Caniay Yates, Meredith Gathings, Shakeria Wilson and Harmony Miller. Congratulations Good Citizens.

Third-grade students at Lower Lee completed studying the positive and negative effects of electric balloons. This experiment allowed the students to look at diagrams of static electricity in balloons to learn more about how charges can build up to attract or repel each other.

Lusann Jones and Gwendolyn Frederick are happy to share good news about their 4K-students. The students are constructing numbers in their interactive math notebooks. Also, the emergent writers are writing two-word sentences from a text.


Sandra Frazier's Fantastic Fourth-Graders are making the most of the digital age to hone their communication and collaboration skills. Students used Google Docs to share a single document that allowed all members of the group to view and contribute simultaneously. The application allowed students to collaborate from anywhere in the room or sit side by side to work together.

Students were amazed that they were able to see what others were typing and adding to the story while they worked. When using this method of collaboration, students are much more engaged in the task and able to benefit from one another's strengths.

Frazier was also able to "drop in" and make comments, revisions and suggestions to the students' work.

Frazier's class is also learning how to create beats in music class. Students used the table to practice following an original beat created by their peers and will soon graduate to creating them on drum pads. They must learn to pay attention to the leader's directions, count the beat and work together as a team.

On Jan. 26, West Lee Elementary School held a breakfast to recognize Lee County School District Board of Trustees member Johnny McDuffie. Student Ambassadors read a special thank-you note to McDuffie.


On Jan. 26, Lee Central Middle School's after-school students traveled across the town of Bishopville to visit the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden.

The AVID students of Lee Central Middle School visited Coastal Carolina University on Jan. 25. After instructional sessions and tours, the students were able to eat on campus. They were very intrigued by the opportunities at the university. A few students are considering Coastal Carolina University as their college choice.


Congratulations to the Lee Central High School Academic Challenge Team on their 11-to-6 victory against Scott's Branch High School on Jan. 31. The victorious team members are: Brittany Morant, Shakira Brailsford, Christian Legrant, Hakeem Morris, Destiny Johnson, L'Shaun Woods, Shakil McCray, Lamont Solomon, David Boxter, Omani Stadard, Trinity Boney, Hanna Florio and Reya Buffkin.

The Lee Central High School Academic Challenge Team would like to give a special thanks to principal Baron Turner, assistant principal Mrs. Avis Wesley, assistant principal Warren Joye, assistant principal Noel Hazzard, adminstrative assistant Roberson Brown, secretary/bookkeeper Virginia Rogers, team moderator Mark Davidson and the Office of Personnel for the team shirts, refreshments and match materials. The team's final match was on Wednesday against Kingstree Senior High School.

Third-, fourth- and fifth -grade students from Bishopville Primary School, Lower Lee Elementary School and West Lee Elementary School participated in the WordMasters Challenge. The WordMasters Challenge is a national analogy solving competition. The students received a list of 25 words three times per year that they have to use to solve the analogies.

Congratulations to the third-, fourth-and fifth-grade district-level and school-level winners! - Shawnta McKenzie


NASA Engineer to Speak at Honors Convocation

Morris College is excited to welcome Howard Conyers, Ph.D., of the NASA Stennis Space Center, as the keynote speaker for Thursday's Honors Convocation. Honors Convocation is a formal opportunity for students to be recognized for their academic achievements from the previous semester. The Morris College family will gather in the Neal-Jones Auditorium at 10 a.m. to participate in the program.

Conyers has been a NASA Stennis Space Center engineer for nine years. He is the A1 Test Stand Mechanical Design Lead where the RS-25, or space shuttle main engine, is tested. In June 2016, serving as principal investigator and project manager for the High Dynamic Range Stereo-X project, he led the team in demonstrating technology capabilities in recording high-speed, high-dynamic range video during the Space Launch System Qualification Motor QM-2 Testing in Utah for the solid rocket booster test.

When Conyers is taking time off from being a first-class engineer, he is a nationally renowned traditional South Carolina whole hog barbecue pit master. He uses his talent and platform to host a variety of culturally specific dinners. Tackling delicacies from Creole, Gullah and Senegalese cuisines alongside culinary experts such as Benjamin Dennis, Pierre Thiam and Vance Vaucresson has earned him features in numerous publications as well as television appearances. He is also a Fellow of the National Food and Beverage Foundation.

Conyers was recognized in 2016 as a NextCity Vanguard, as 1 of 40 of the best and brightest young urban leaders under age 40 across the nation and serves on the boards for the GrowDat Youth Farm and the Dillard University Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture. He has served on the President's Advisors for the Preservation Resource Center and the Warren Easton Charter High School STEM Advisory Board. He was recognized as a Propeller Fellow of Social Entrepreneurship in 2013-14 for creating an initiative to motivate minorities and females to go into STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. Conyers resides in New Orleans with his wife, Kathryn, and their dog, affectionately named after his undergraduate mascot, Aggie. - Anika V. Cobb


Art submissions being accepted

The Central Carolina Technical College Foundation Gallery of Art and Expression will display artwork in March 2018 from current faculty, staff and students. There is no charge to display artwork. Submissions for this event are now being accepted.

To find out more information and to download the Artwork Submission Form, visit:

Welding Skills Competition

Central Carolina Technical College is hosting this year's annual Welding Skills Competition on April 19 and 20 on the Main Campus in Sumter. Ten S.C. technical colleges will compete in six welding categories.

For more information and sponsorship opportunities for this event, contact Welding Program Manager Axel Reis at (803) 778-7863 or

Admission Agreements

Central Carolina Technical College has 13 specific Admission Agreements with the following institutions: The Citadel, Columbia College, ECPI University, Francis Marion University, Limestone College, Morris College, Saint Leo University, Salem International University, Springfield College, Strayer University, University of Maryland University College, University of South Carolina and Webster University. Transferring from CCTC to a four-year university or college is made easier with the college's Admission Agreements and with the help of the Admissions Department. Interested in our Admission Agreements? Call (803) 778-1961 for more information or visit - Catherine M. Wood


Open enrollment taking place now

Sumter School District will offer the Open Enrollment program for the 2018-19 school year. The purpose of the program is to increase students' access to public school K-12 educational opportunities within the school district.

Enrollment opportunities will be based upon the capacity of each school. Student-teacher ratios will not change, and schools will not be overcrowded by this program. Requests for student participation will be handled through a lottery if requests exceed available slots. Pre-kindergarten students are ineligible for the program.

Students who are zoned to attend a particular school and want to attend there are not required to submit any application. In addition, students who are currently attending a school through the open enrollment program do not need to send another application. This program is designed only for students who want to attend a school outside of their attendance zone and have not already been approved. Separate applications are not required for open enrollment students to move from Oakland Primary School to Shaw Heights Elementary or High Hills Elementary schools.

Applications are available in all Sumter School District schools, the district office at 1345 Wilson Hall Road and online at Applications must be received or postmarked by Feb. 23 and may be returned at any of the schools or at the district office. If mailed, the address is Sumter School District, attention Maria Thomas, 1345 Wilson Hall Road, Sumter, SC 29150. Parents will be notified by mail of approval or denial by March 30.

If chosen for participation, parents must provide transportation to and from the out-of-zone school. A student approved for enrollment in a non-resident school is entitled to remain in the school until completion of the final grade within that school without submitting an annual application. Other rules and considerations are covered in the informational flier on the district's website.

Distinguished Literacy Teachers named

The Sumter Area Reading Council recognized the Distinguished Literacy Teachers at a reception held at Crosswell Drive Elementary School. The theme was Snapshots of Literacy: Read-Write-Speak-View. Pat Smith, state coordinator for International Reading Association and SCRIA Board Member, was the speaker for this celebratory event.

The outstanding school level distinguished teachers competed for top honors in their respective categories. At the elementary school level, the winners were: Lisa Dixon, Alice Drive Elementary; Nickie Massey, Cherryvale; Angela Taylor, Crosswell Drive; Sheila Phillip-Hicks, High Hills; Emily Hatfield, Kingsbury; Ashleigh Morton, Lemira; Kelli Carlisle, Manchester; Mary Anne Scott, Millwood; Samantha Mouser, Oakland Primary; Jana Bridges, Pocalla Springs; Bridget Belcher, R.E. Davis; Adrienne Kennedy, Shaw Heights; Stephanie Kennedy, Wilder; and Stacey Shirah, Willow Drive. Bethesda Moore from Hillcrest Middle School represented the middle schools, and Sara Byrd from Lakewood High School represented the high schools.

Stacey Shirah from Willow Drive Elementary School was named the Sumter School District Elementary Distinguished Literacy Teacher of the Year, and Bethesda Moore from Hillcrest Middle School was named the Sumter School District Middle/High Distinguished Literacy Teacher of the Year. Our winners will present their literacy platforms at the South Carolina International Literacy Association's 45th-annual conference at the Hilton Head Marriott Resort on Feb. 22-24. They will receive a certificate, a plaque and paid registration to the SCIRA conference from the SARC.

January Star Teacher named

Angela Taylor, a kindergarten teacher at Crosswell Drive Elementary School, was named the January Star Teacher of the Month. The Star Teacher program is sponsored by Community Broadcasters and Staples.

Angela and Sumter School District Executive Director of Human Resources Dr. John Koumas were guests on the Good Morning Sumter Show on WDXY AM 1240 and FM 105.9 with host Derek Burress. In addition to appearing on the show, Angela received a gift bag from Staples.

According to the nomination, Angela is a seasoned kindergarten teacher who embraces instructional best practices in order to move her students to the next level of excellence. She goes above and beyond the call of duty by tutoring kindergarten students after school and mentoring teachers. Angela communicates with her students' parents regularly to ensure that they know that they are key stakeholders in their child's education. In addition, Angela embeds literacy instruction across all subject areas to expose her students to reading strategies throughout the school day. For this reason, Taylor was just named Crosswell Drive Elementary School's Distinguished Literacy Teacher of the Year. Angela is an asset to Crosswell Drive Elementary School's students, parents and staff. She is truly a STAR in Crosswell's eyes!

SHS student selected to attend Governor's School program

Olivia Burdick, a sophomore at Sumter High School, has been selected to attend the Summer Dance program for the Governor's School of the Arts and Humanities June 17-July 21.

According to the Governor's School's website, the Summer Dance program is an intensive five-week program that offers rising seventh- to 12th-grade students (who apply during their sixth- to 11th-grade school year) pre-professional training in classical ballet with a modern/contemporary dance component. The ballet program, similar to the residential program, is based on long-established concepts and ideas taken from the Vaganova, Cecchetti and R.A.D. schools. The modern/contemporary dance component exposes students to theoretical concepts rooted in principles based on the Graham, Horton, Limon and Cunningham techniques. The Summer Dance program is committed to remaining at the forefront of a fast- changing dance world by complementing its classical ballet and modern dance training with a diverse range of concert dance and dance-related forms. - Shelly Galloway


The TSA Difference

Everyone today reads about and hears about how our young people today seem to lack those soft skills employers and colleges are looking for whether they are applying to college or interviewing for their first job. I can tell you that is not what I see from our students at Thomas Sumter Academy. I see our students as passionate young people who are emerging servant principled leaders. I would say they are "counter-cultural." In a recent blog I read by Dr. Tim Elmore, president and CEO of Growing Leaders Inc. of Atlanta, he gave 10 attributes of a "growing or emerging leader" and then compared them to what an everyday student might exhibit.

Our students exhibit these characteristics on a daily basis. So what are they? These leadership traits or characteristics are sacrificial vs. self-absorbed; authentic vs. imitating others; being committed vs. apathetic; generous vs. consuming; grateful vs. presumptuous; empowering vs. controlling; having a hungry mind vs. okay with the status quo; exhibiting a "What can I give?" mindset vs. "What can I get?"; mission vs. money; and to stand up and out vs. blending in. Through our strong relationship between our faculty and our families, we are able to maximize these attributes.

Our students learn to be the next generation leaders. That is what the TSA Difference is.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact our Admissions Department. Visit our website. Come in for a visit. Tenacity. Supports. Achievements. - Dr. F.L. Martin III


It's Not Too Late to Try Your luck at Casino Night

On Friday, the USC Sumter Nettles Gymnasium will be transformed into a Las Vegas-style casino where attendees will play for wonderful prizes donated by area businesses.

The Ante Up Casino Night sign-in will begin at 6 p.m. in the Nettles Lobby. Game play runs from 7 to 9:30 p.m. with prize distribution at 10 p.m. Guests should dress to impress and bring their poker faces.

Casino games such as black jack, craps, roulette, poker and bingo will be available to guests, where they can earn chips to win prizes. Guests will enjoy beer and wine, a signature drink, a catered dinner and music to dance the night away. Tickets are still available for purchase online and can be purchased at the door for an additional fee. Please contact Christie Stutz at (803) 938-3892 or for more information.

Fire Ant Tennis Ranked 19th in the Country

With the NJCAA Tennis season beginning shortly, ITA Tennis released its pre-season rankings, and the USC Sumter men's team is ranked top in the nation. The Fire Ants are ranked 19th in the country, sixth in the Southeast and first in the region. The team is the favorite to qualify for the national tournament.

Team member Peter Kovats finished last semester as the No. 23 player in the country, and Jordan George finished 45th in the country in the fall. The Fire Ants open the season with an invitational tournament hosting Division I and II opponents like The Citadel and Coker College. The schedule also includes two nationally ranked Junior Colleges.

The Fire Ants will host 13th-ranked Eastern Florida State in March and will travel to 12th-ranked Harford in April. On Feb. 24, the region match with Spartanburg Methodist will decide which team will represent the NJCAA in the national tournament.

For a full listing of upcoming matches, rosters and news on the Fire Ant Tennis team, visit -Misty Hatfield


Curtis Named Wofford Scholar

Senior Chandler Curtis received the Benjamin Wofford Scholarship from Wofford College. With a value of $80,000, the scholarship covers approximately half of tuition. Curtis was invited to visit the college's campus for Wofford Scholars Day during which time she was interviewed by college representatives. The scholarship is awarded to students who have a minimum SAT score of 1250, rank in the top 10 percent of their graduating class, have an outstanding academic record and have demonstrated leadership potential.

Creech Receives Tartan Scholarship

Senior Layton Creech was awarded the Tartan Scholarship by Presbyterian College. Worth $52,000, the scholarship covers one-third of tuition. Incoming freshmen are awarded the scholarship based on SAT scores, academic performance, strength of curriculum, strength of high school and demonstrated leadership.

Community Open House

Wilson Hall is hosting a community open house for the parents of prospective students in 3-year-old preschool through 12th grade today from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The public is invited to learn more about Wilson Hall and its academic, athletic and extracurricular programs from faculty members, current students and their parents. - Sean Hoskins


IOWA CITY, Iowa - Amanda Redfoot, a native of Sumter, has been named to the University of Iowa's Dean's List for the 2017 fall semester.


CLINTON - Presbyterian College is proud to recognize Isaac Brandon Haughton, a sophomore from Sumter, for making the Dean's List during the fall 2017 semester. The Dean's List is composed of students who have earned between a 3.3 and a 3.9 grade-point average.


NEWBERRY - The following area students have been named to the Dean's List for fall semester 2017 at Newberry College: David Bridges of Sumter; Nigel Johnson of Manning; Kinard Lisbon of Bishopville; and Orlandria McCray of Sumter.

Students receiving recognition on the Dean's List had to achieve a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale during the semester.


The following local students have been named to the fall 2017 President's List at USC Sumter:

- Turbeville - Malorie Berry;

- Dalzell - Karleigh Boothe, Ladarah Daniels, Hope Hillsman, Dalton Miller, Lesley Strickland and Linda Vereen;

- Wedgefield - Kevin Carson;

- Sumter - Nadia Almosadder, Hannah Bettencourt, Jaeden Choice, Eric Gaymon, Lona Gillard, Sarah Greene, Aaron Griffith, Tashiba Lampkin, Caleb Larrimore, Nathan Martin, Isabelle McCaffrey, Lorraine McClane, Ashleigh McElveen, Samantha McLeod, Caitlyn Mettetal, Joshua Miller, Hannah Moore, NGuyen NGuyen, Patricia Phillips, Peyton Reed, Rhiannon Ridgeway, Christian Simmons, Andrew Twitty, Chrystian Waddell, Barbara Weeks and Janette Williams;

- Summerton - Alexis Guessregen, Brianna Hill and Ella Wray-Carnes;

- Manning - Mackenzie Ham;

- Lynchburg - Kaela Johnson;

- Rembert - Alexandra Manzo and Selena Vaughn; and

- Shaw AFB - Daniel Munguia.

To reach this high academic achievement, students must maintain a grade-point average of 3.95-4.00 earned on a minimum of 12 credited semester hours at the end of the previous semester.

The following local students were named to the fall 2017 Dean's List at USC Sumter:

- Bishopville - Kathleen Hawkins;

- Dalzell - Cameron Eidson, Triston Hall, Hailey Kearnes, April Painter, John Pochebit, Kelsie Ratliff, Kadesia Scarborough, Zachary Snipes, Tamarra Wiley, Chantell Williams, Yvonne Yost and Micaylah Wisener;

- Gable - Carson Walker;

- Lynchburg - Albert Gardner;

- Manning - James Brewer, Jalaina Brown, Brandy Del Rio, Jigesh Patel, Maitri Patel, Cynthia Richardson, Kerington Shaffer and Nicholas Skoler;

- Rembert - Katelyn Beckwith and Naiym Harris;

- Shaw AFB - Thomas Pace, Nautica Vaden and Ashley Weeks;

- Summerton - Rebekah Robinson and Caroline Stukes;

- Sumter - Legacy Allen, Yasmeen Anderson, Jenna Avins, Ivy Benenhaley, Kendrick Bennett, Caitlin Bickford, Derek Bjorlo, Tyshawn Brisbone, Erika Canty, Caleb Carrigan, Marcus Chalifoux, Catherine Clark, Sarah Collen, Acacia Dees, Emilee Dollard, Harleigh Egan, Jonathan Etling, Miasia Gadson, Jacob Gainey, Hannah Gathers, Andrew Gillman, Mary Gleaton, Caroline Glover, Mark Green, Brooklyn Gregg, Jessica Griffin, Baileigh Harrelson, Emma Hendricks, Anna Rose Hernandez, Fatima Hernandez, Jonnell Holley, Alexas Jackson, Jerica Johnson, Alyssa Jones, Tammy Jones, Madison Kelly, Timothy Kranz, Aaron Kruger, Tayler Lenoir, Kristian Lucente, Katelynn Mahoney, Mario Martinez, Richard Martinez, Jackson Matthews, Daytona McDonald, Kimberly Mosquero, Nathaniel O'Connor, Rachel Oakley, Elizabeth Orban, Ni Putu Pradnyani, Douglas Price, Kody Puckett, Katherine Raley, Emily Ray, Jonathan Ray, Alaya Richardson, Rafael Rodriguez, Ashton Rogers, Kenyot'a Russell, Sarah Scott, Nicholas Singleton, Isabel Sneider, Elizabeth Spurlock, Michaela Stukes, Gracie Swingle, Kayla Taylor, Sara Jane Thielmann, Rebecca Tumbleston, Daniel Twitty, Rebecca Twitty, Jonathan Van Dusen, Rylan Williamson, Aaliya Wilson and Crecie Woodard.

To be named to the Dean's Honor List, a student must achieve a grade-point average of 3.50 or higher (3.25 or higher for freshmen) earned on a minimum of 12 credited semester hours at the end of the previous semester.


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

- Sumter - Daniel Barber, Kiel Bilton, Miles Cox, Colby Harker, Greyson Haynes, William Herlong, Cameron Joyner, Keelan Kane-Yearman, Kory McIntosh, William Richardson, John Sears, Daniel Tallon, Katherine Walker and Robert Young;

- Summerton - Drew Edwards;

- Rembert - Trace Guy;

- Mayesville - Talmadge Johnson;

- Bishopville - Tony Outlaw and Tierra Price; and

- Shaw AFB - Devin Singleton.

The Dean's List is a recognition given to cadets and students who are registered for 12 or more semester hours and whose grade-point average is 3.20 or higher, with no grade of incomplete and no grade below C for work in a semester.

The Citadel awarded Gold Stars to the following local cadets and students who achieved a 3.7 grade-point average or higher during the 2017 fall semester:

- Sumter - John Baker, William Kinney, Addison Osborne, Lauren Pringle and Jameson Totty.

Cadets and students who achieve Gold Star recognition are also placed on The Citadel's Dean's List.


TUSCALOOSA, Alabama - The University of Alabama's Dean's List includes students with an academic record of 3.5 or above or the President's List with an academic record of 4.0 (all As). The UA Dean's and President's lists recognize full-time undergraduate students. The lists do not apply to graduate students or undergraduate students who take less than a full course load.

The following Sumter students named to the Dean's List are Allison Estep, Xaviera Webb and Lyndsay Krebs.

Angela Williams of Sumter was named to the President's List.

Emilee Danielle Senn of Sumter received a Master of Arts during winter commencement on Dec. 16, 2017.


LOWELL, Massachusetts - Ryan Arnette of Sumter has been recognized for achieving academic distinction at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Arnette, majoring in information technology, was named to the Dean's List for the fall 2017 semester.

To qualify a student must have completed no fewer than 12 graded credits for the semester and earned at least a 3.25 grade-point average with no grade lower than C and without any incompletes.


SPRINGFIELD, Massachusetts - Bethany Bisnett of Sumter has been named to the Fall 2017 Dean's List at American International College. Dean's List students are full-time students with a grade-point average between 3.3 and 4.0.