Education News: Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017


Thomas Sumter Academy Generals spread cheer

On Nov. 30, our middle school students lived out our school motto, "Acta Non Verba," as we spread Christmas cheer and extended a helping hand to several nursing facilities and ministries in Sumter.

The sixth and seventh grade dressed in Christmas colors and holiday attire. They delivered gift bags and sang Christmas songs to the residents of National Healthcare, Hopewell, Sumter Health East and McElveen Manor. Our eighth grade helped rake and bag leaves, put up Christmas wreaths, decorated a Christmas tree and put up Christmas lights at John K. Crosswell Home for Children. After a busy morning, the students, teachers and bus drivers ate lunch at Golden Corral. Afterward, everyone went to Dillion Park to just be kids before returning to school.

The Meaning of Christmas - Giving

The Christmas Shop is not just for making and selling gifts. With the profits, each student purchases a gift for a child from the local Salvation Army "Angel Tree." This entire process is a huge learning opportunity while also giving back to the community - TSA students learning how to "Pay It Forward." Can't get any better than that. - Dr. F.L. Martin III

Central Carolina Technical College

Come by and see the Christmas trees

CCTC has started a new tradition this year. Now through Dec. 15, the college is displaying approximately 25 Christmas trees for public viewing and voting. Stop by the college during normal operating hours to tour the trees and get in the holiday spirit. You can also vote for your favorite tree by visiting CCTC's Facebook page.

Free Salt Scrub Class

It's the perfect time of year to make a gift for someone special. Come out to CCTC's Health Sciences Center, Room H183 (133 S. Main St.) on Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m. to make a free salt scrub. This event is free to the public so be sure to RSVP by Thursday at (803) 774-3337 to save your spot. Space is limited.

Spring Semester Registration

Register now for spring semester at CCTC. Classes start Jan. 16, 2018. For more information on enrollment visit and to view the classes offered visit

Massage Therapy Program

Beginning this spring semester, CCTC's Massage Therapy Program will be offered during the evening and on Saturdays. Students can complete the program and obtain a certificate in as little as two semesters.

Upon successful completion of the Massage Therapy Certificate, students are eligible to apply to take the Federation of States Examination before applying for a South Carolina license. Also, CCTC is the first school to offer a Specialty Certificate in Massage Therapy for Integrative Healthcare credentialed by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Massage therapists enjoy a variety of job opportunities in health care, spas, rehabilitation clinics and cruise ships.

For more information about this program, contact Massage Therapy Program Manager Brent Jackson at (803) 778-7857 or Classes start Jan. 16. - Catherine M. Wood

Sumter Christian School

Students send care packages

As part of their community projects and out of a desire to spread Christmas cheer to our military, the fourth- and eighth-grade classes sent out care packages to deployed soldiers in Afghanistan, Qatar, Kuwait and Korea. Care packages included cards and gifts from students, teachers and their families.

As the semester comes to a close, students are finishing up their final projects before Christmas break. After weeks of research and organization, honors geography students Kim Edmunds and Kyle Painter gave professional and memorable presentations for their relocation projects on Singapore and Israel. They were required to research and consider the practical aspects as well as the viability of moving to a foreign country.

The sophomore and junior chemistry students completed their Periodic Table Project in which they had to fill out several worksheets and construct their own periodic tables both accurately and creatively. Also, the senior government students handed in their multimedia patriotic projects for which they researched and theorized what the founding fathers would have to say about the influence of Christianity today.

Sumter Christian School will host its annual Christmas program for friends and family on Monday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. Beginning, intermediate and concert bands will be performing. Elementary classes will be singing songs and reciting poems along with various middle school and high school students performing solos and dramatic readings. - Miriam Marritt

Sumter School District

Students win holiday card contest

Nona Ghimpau, an eighth-grader from Alice Drive Middle School, and Lachaia Douglas, a fifth-grade student from Cherryvale Elementary School, were the winners of the Mayor's Holiday Card contest. Their artwork was selected from more than 500 entries. Mattison Spiegel, a sixth-grader from Alice Drive Middle School, and Issac Ohrt, a third-grader from Kingsbury Elementary School, were named runners-up.

The students were recognized at the opening ceremony of the Fantasy of Lights at Swan Lake-Iris Gardens on Dec. 1. Mayor Joseph T. McElveen and a representative of FTC, sponsor of the program, will visit the winners at their schools to present their awards. The winners will receive a framed copy of the holiday card and an iPad. The runners-up will receive gift cards.

Hillcrest named finalist

Hillcrest Middle School is one of five state finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest. The contest challenges students in grades six-12 to show how STEAM can be applied to help improve their local communities. Hillcrest sixth- and seventh-grade science teacher Richard Phillips' class was chosen as a finalist based on their proposal to use STEAM skills to address school-based emergency management.

The students are developing an app to serve as an early warning system for schools. Phillips won a Samsung Chromebook and is working on an activity plan outlining how the students will execute the project. If he is chosen as the state winner, Hillcrest will receive a $25,000 Samsung technology package.

The Sumter Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution recently donated $300 to support STEM efforts in Sumter School District. Science coordinator Lori Smith offered it to science teachers as a contest, with the ideas for the best use of the money in STEM-related efforts. Phillips also won the DAR money and will use some of it in the development of the emergency management app.

SCEA honors educator

Pocalla Springs Elementary School's Technology and Curriculum Coach Krista Jennings was honored recently by the South Carolina Education Association as an outstanding educator. The presentation took place at the school during National Education Week.

"Krista Jennings' title is technology/curriculum coach, but she is so much more," said Dr. Laura Brown, Pocalla Springs Elementary School principal. "Ms. Jennings is the 'face of Pocalla' for our live-streamed morning show. She is definitely a role model for everyone at Pocalla Springs." Jennings is a former Sumter School District Teacher of the Year.

SCEA invited principals to nominate educators in their schools that go above and beyond the call of duty in providing the best in education for their students. After an enthusiastic response from principals across the state, SCEA President Bernadette Hampton reviewed the applications and selected educators from different regions of the state to receive the honor.

According to SCEA, in honoring of these educators, they become part of a nationwide effort to draw attention to American Education Week's theme, "Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility." This represents the National Education Association's (NEA) vision of calling upon all Americans to do their part in making public schools great for every child, so that they can grow and achieve in the 21st century.

Festivities galore

Sumter School District schools are continuing their holiday festivities this week. Evening activities, which are open to the public, are free. The holiday choral and band performances are outstanding and are a great way to celebrate the season.

To see a complete list of events, please visit our website at and check out the December calendar of events. The site also has a link to all the schools which will have more comprehensive information about each particular school. The public is also encouraged to like our Facebook page for frequent postings and pictures.

Holiday schedule

Sumter School District schools will be closed from Dec. 20 through Jan. 2, 2018. School will resume on Jan. 3. The Sumter Item education news will not publish on Dec. 17, 24 or 31.

From all of us in Sumter School District, have a safe and wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year. - Mary B. Sheridan

Wilson Hall

Battle of the Books State Champions

Both the elementary and middle school Battle of the Books teams won the S.C. Independent School State Championship held in Dalzell on Nov. 29. This is the fourth consecutive state championship for the elementary and the second consecutive state championship for the middle school.

Advised by Susan Barfield and Molly McDuffie, the following students are members of the middle school team: eighth-graders William Hardee, Tyler Mahr, Harsh Patel and Derek Smith, seventh-graders Kayla Brown, Jackson Mahr, Nathan Owens, Syd Richardson and Steven Scholz, and sixth-grader Zach Scholz. Advised by Kathy Coker and Susie Herlong, the following students are members of the elementary team: fifth-graders Lottie Bynum, Lydia Cheek, Thomas Creech, Ryan Hawkey and Sara Helen Simmons, and third-graders Eva Dochtermann, Gracie Nibblelink, Maddie Posch and Wes Sargis. America's Battle of the Books is a reading incentive program for students in grades three through 12. Students read books and come together to demonstrate their reading comprehension abilities and to test their knowledge of the books they have read. The teams are given a list of 20 books to read prior to the competition, and then they are asked specific questions about the books to earn points.

Special Athletic Recognition

Several athletes received special recognition by the S.C. Independent School Association at the conclusion of the fall season. For cross-country, senior Kirsten Fisher was named to the AAA All-State Team, and Fisher and senior Bryce Lyles were each named the Region Runner of the Year. In addition to Fisher and Lyles, the following students were named to the All-Region Teams: seniors Chandler Curtis, Layton Creech and Matthew Tavarez, sophomores Matthew Blankenship, Layton Creech, Haley McCaffrey and Molly Moss, and eighth-grader Margaret Briggs Kelly. Selected for the SCISA North/South All-Star Football Team were seniors Noah Harvin, Jackson LeMay and Jake Meyers. Senior Kelly Brady was chosen for the AAA All-State Team for golf. For tennis, junior Shelby Guldan was named the Region Player of the Year. She was named to the All-Region Team along with senior Zan Beasley and sophomores Emily Anne Beasley and Lizzy Davis. Debby Williams was named the Region Tennis Coach of the Year. In volleyball, senior Courtney Clark was named to the AAA All-State Team and she was named the Region Player of the Year. She was named to the All-Region team along with seniors Chandler Curtis, Liza Lowder and Becka Noyes. These four students were also selected for the SCISA All-Star Team along with senior Madison Reaves. Rip Ripley was named the Region Volleyball Coach of the Year. - Sean Hoskins


SPARTANBURG - Letitia Smith of Sumter has been named to Sherman College of Chiropractic's Dean's List for grades earned during the summer 2017 academic quarter. Dean's list students have achieved a grade-point average of at least 3.5 for the quarter.


Sumter-area resident Tashime Toomer recently graduated from Herzing University Online with an Associate of Science in Medical Office Administration.