Richland One 2018-2019 Points of Pride

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    • Eleven Richland One high school seniors were named semifinalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program, a prestigious honor that less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors achieve.

     

    • Richland One earned a 2018 Partnership District Award from the National Network of Partnership Schools at Johns Hopkins University for its Soar into Summer Success project, which was attended by more than 400 students and parents in June 2018.

     

    • Twenty-five Dreher High School students earned the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone Diploma based on the work they completed in the 2017-2018 school year. Eight students earned the College Board’s AP Seminar and Research Certificate. Dreher was among the first four schools in South Carolina to offer AP Capstone coursework.

     

    • W.G. Sanders Middle School opened a new DON’T QUIT! Fitness Center in October 2018. W.G Sanders was one of three South Carolina schools selected as a DON’T QUIT! Fitness Champion for demonstrating new and innovative ways of promoting student physical activity and wellness.

     

    • Four Richland One seniors were named Commended Students in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program, one of the country’s most prestigious academic recognition programs. Commended Students score in the top 2-3% of the 1.6 million students nationwide who took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) as juniors in October 2017.

     

    • Two Richland One employees—Samantha Carlisle, Principal of South Kilbourne Elementary School and Joya Gregg, Human Resources Coordinator—were selected to participate in the South Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program (SC-EPFP). SC-EPFP is a 10-month intensive professional development program for established and emerging leaders in education and related fields.

     

    • BOOM (Building Occupational Opportunities in the Midlands), a highly successful construction job training program for special needs students,  was expanded and won several awards for excellence. Five students with disabilities from Richland One, Richland Two and Lexington-Richland Five took a construction class at Midlands Technical College’s Airport Campus, allowing all of them to receive OSHA certification and job offers or internships in the construction industry. In addition to winning the Program of the Year Award from the SC Division on Career Development and Transition, BOOM was named the 2018 Outstanding Continuing Education Cooperative Program by the SC Association for Higher Continuing Education (SCAHCE). The program also received an innovation grant from the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce which will allow each district to serve additional students in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years.

     

    • Richland One inducted four new members into the district’s 2018 Hall of Fame: Vince Ford, Freddie E. Grace Jr., Jim Hockman and Reverend Dr. Solomon Jackson Jr. Induction into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed upon individuals by the Richland One Board of School Commissioners.

     

    • Richland One art students won numerous awards at this year’s South Carolina State Fair Art Competition, including two Best in Show honors, seven first-place awards and five second-place trophies. Crayton Middle School art teacher Kim Elliott won the Educator’s Award for having the most middle school ribbon winners in the state.

     

    • Eau Claire High School’s volleyball program received double honors this year. Senior Aerial Starks was named Region 3-AA Player of the Year and Demetris Murray was named Region 3-AA Coach of the Year. Coach Murray’s program finished second in the region.

     

    • Lamar Richards, a Richland One Middle College student, along with his research partner Austin Geer of the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Math, became the first high school students to win the 2018 Louisiana State University National Undergraduate Research Competition. Lamar plans to submit his research for publication and hopes to present his findings at the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research in Washington, D.C.

     

    • Ariel Washington, a school psychologist intern assisting students, parents and staff at Edward E. Taylor Elementary School, received the Best Innovative Practice Award from the North Carolina School Psychology Association. She received the award for her work in developing a workshop to teach faculty about changing their approaches to dealing with student misbehavior by using more effective methods of correction.

     

    •  A.C. Flora High School Coach Collin Drafts was named Class 4A Lower State Coach of the Year by the South Carolina Football Coaches Association. Coach Drafts’ team had an undefeated 5-0 region record, outscoring opponents 204-56. They also shattered the school record with nine consecutive wins.

     

    • Eleven Richland One students were selected for the 2018-2019 South Carolina All-State Chorus.

     

    • Students in Heyward Career and Technology Center’s entertainment and media technology class won first place in the Reel Scripts for Real Change PSA Contest sponsored by the Lexington/Richland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council (LRADAC).

     

    • Richland One students Thomas Green of Columbia High School and Ron Davis, Jr. of Eau Claire High School were among the five finalists for the 2018 Mr. Richland County High School Football Player of the Year Award. This award is presented annually to the top varsity high school senior football player in Richland County who demonstrates great character, sharp intellect and community service, as well as academic and athletic excellence. Seven Richland One student-athletes were nominated for the 2018 Mr. Richland County High School Football Player of the Year Award.

     

    • Lower Richland High School junior and trumpet player Christian I. Houghton, was selected to participate in the 2019 High School Honors Performance Series at the Sydney Opera House this summer in Australia. This honor challenges accomplished high school musicians at one of the world’s most recognized and revered performance institutions: the Concert Hall at Sydney Opera House.

     

    • Being selected for the SC Music Educators Association All-State Guitar Ensemble is a prestigious honor. This year, half of the students selected for the ensemble were guitar students from Dreher High School, under the direction of music teacher Ben Broughton.

     

    • Dreher High School senior Kyrell Michael was awarded the Doug Shaw scholarship, which is given to the football player who demonstrates great character and leadership skills during the week-long preparation for the North/South All-Star Football game. Kyrell’s team won 13–10 at the game on December 15.

     

    • C.A. Johnson High School students William Barnes and Ja'Lisa Bannister won first- and second-place, respectively, in the M.Y.O.B (Minding Your Own Business) and Shark Tank school competition sponsored by EngenuitySC.

     

    • Army JROTC Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Breanna Calhoun, a senior at Lower Richland High School, was selected as a Junior Achievement Student Ambassador for the 2019 South Carolina Business Hall of Fame event. Cadet Calhoun also was the Battalion Commander for Lower Richland’s Army JROTC Diamond Battalion.

     

    • At the University of South Carolina vs. Tennessee Volunteers men’s basketball game, Webber Elementary School was presented with a $9,000 check from the corporate office of International Paper and the Coaching for Literacy organization. Webber is the only school in South Carolina that received this grant award.

     

    • The Society for Science and the Public selected Dreher High School senior Anthony Androulakis as a top 300 Scholar in the 78th Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation's oldest and most prestigious science and mathematics competition for high school seniors. Anthony was recognized for his investigative research on stroke patients.

     

    • Three Richland One students were selected to perform in the South Carolina Music Educators All-State Orchestra at its February 24 concert. The district extends its congratulations to Hand Middle School bass player Elizabeth Nobles, Dreher High School bass player Kelsi Hallman and Eau Claire High School violinist Amber Spencer.

     

    • Ali Jenkins, a kindergarten teacher at Meadowfield Elementary School, was named Top Teacher on the Block by H&R Block, an honor which recognizes outstanding teachers.

     

    • Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and members of the Columbia City Council recognized Meadowfield Elementary School fifth grader Delton Myers for his self-published book The Invisible Injury and his efforts to bring awareness to children's mental health. 

     

    • Vulcan Materials Company Foundation presented Olympia Learning Center with a $1,000 check to support the school’s Student Character Program.

     

    • Richland One’s outstanding performing arts programs have nurtured the talents of some of South Carolina’s finest young musicians. Many district middle and high school students, after undergoing rigorous auditions, were selected for state and regional band and orchestra honors.

     

    • What a way to end your senior year as a high school wrestler: With a 44-2 record, Columbia High School student Clayton Darby won the Class 2A/1A state wrestling championship in the 126-pound weight class on February 23. His win comes on the heels of his selection for the 2018-2019 North-South All Star Wrestling Team. Travon Riley from C.A. Johnson High School, Trevon Hart from C.A. Johnson High School and Jaylin Broadnax from Columbia High School placed third in their respective weight classes at the event.

     

    • The Isley Brothers conducted a Master Class for students from Richland One students and surrounding districts. The Isley Brothers also performed at the Koger center for the Arts on February 22.

     

    • Eleven Richland One high school seniors were named finalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program, a prestigious program which awards scholarships to academically talented students across the country. In this high-stakes competition, students competed for 7,500 scholarships worth $31 million.

     

    • The National Council of Teachers of English ranked the 2018 edition of “Whisper,” Dreher High School’s literary and art magazine, as "Superior," making it one of only two to be so honored in South Carolina.

     

    • Three A.C. Flora High School students won state theatre performance awards at the 2019 Palmetto Dramatic Association Festival. Cameron Vipperman won for best solo musical performance. Jaxson Hillard and Olivia Davis took home first-place awards in the duet scene performance category. As state winners, all three students qualified to advance to the national competition this summer.

     

    • Arden Elementary School student Za’Riah Archie placed third in South Carolina in the National Missing Children’s Poster Contest. One of the goals of the contest is to make students more aware of missing children and to promote child safety.

     

    • The South Carolina Education Association (SCEA) recognized W. A. Perry Middle School students for their participation in its Read Across South Carolina art contest. Student TreQuan Grimes received a special recognition as a participant in the contest which is designed to promote literacy and art
      across South Carolina.

     

    • Hyatt Park Elementary School held its first induction ceremony for students selected for academic excellence by the National Junior Beta Club. The district extends it congratulations to fifth graders Donquarius Pagan, Zarya Mines, Adin Davis-Young, Danielle Groff, Anthony Covington-Gordon and Aiyana Brown.

     

    • EngenuitySC and Richland One expanded the popular “Dress to Impress” showcase. Initially created in 2014 for students at Lower Richland High School, the enterprise was expanded in 2018 to welcome students from C.A. Johnson, Eau Claire and Columbia high schools. For 2019, the program broadened its horizons even further, including students from five additional Richland One high schools, programs and centers. Each year, students partaking in the program receive “soft skills” training, new business outfits (to keep), and professional grooming lessons. They also attend an etiquette dinner where they learn about formal table manners and more.

     

    • Richland One’s finalists for its 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year  include Shawn Rivers Norris, Satchel Ford Elementary School; Gwenn Marie Lucas, A.C. Flora High School; Charmane Freeman-Greene, Heyward Career and Technology Center; Dr. Curtell F. Rhodan, W.J. Keenan High School; and Chantis Edens, Southeast Middle School. District Classified Employee of the Year finalists were Hazel Bennett, instructional assistant at W.A. Perry Middle School; Mary Choate, instructional assistant at Brennen Elementary School; Robert Craft, Jr., secretary at Columbia High School; Me'Linda Legette, administrative assistant at the Challenger Learning Center; and Doris Nelson, secretary at C.A. Johnson High School.

     

    • BOOM (Building Occupational Opportunities in the Midlands), a highly successful construction job training program for special needs students in Richland One and other school districts, won its third state award of excellence. The South Carolina State Technical College System named Midlands Technical College’s BOOM Program the best collaborative and innovative program at any of South Carolina’s technical colleges. In addition to this honor, BOOM won the Program of the Year Award from the SC Division on Career Development and Transition. It also was named the 2018 Outstanding Continuing Education Cooperative Program by the SC Association for Higher Continuing Education.

     

    • Three films by Lower Richland High School students were selected to premiere at the Indie Grits Festival in the “House of Sweet Magic” film block on March 30. Lower Richland students Donovan Amaker, Zykale Goodwin and Briana Johnson, were among a group of young media-makers ages three through 18 who were selected to be a part of the screening.

     

    • Richland One Middle College student Lamar Richards received a Concurrent Resolution of Academic Achievement from the South Carolina Legislature, which is one of the state’s highest civilian honors. Lamar received the honor along with his research partner Austin Greer. The pair were the first high school students to win the 2018 Louisiana State University National Undergraduate Research Competition.

     

    • Lena Trask-Trafton, a straight-A student at Hand Middle School, was a state semi-finalist in the 2019 National Geographic GeoBee competition. The GeoBee is a nationwide academic competition where students have a chance to win college scholarships and cash prizes based on their knowledge of geography.

     

    • Seventy-two district employees were recognized this year for achieving 25, 30, 35 or 40 years of service to Richland One.

     

    • Serving veterans has been a five-year passion and labor of love for A.C. Flora High School senior Daniel Finney, who has volunteered more than 600 hours at the Dorn VA Medical Center. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs selected Daniel to receive its $20,000 James H. Parke Memorial Youth Scholarship for volunteer service.

     

    • Six teams from Richland One were selected to compete with students from around the globe after qualifying for the 2019 Odyssey of the Mind World Finals Competition. At the state qualifying competition, W.J. Keenan High School’s team brought home a first-place trophy. C.A. Johnson High School’s team captured a second-place win. Lewis Greenview Elementary School had two teams to qualify as first-place winners. One of Greenview’s teams also earned a Ranatra Fusca Award for outstanding creativity. Brockman Elementary School had a first-place team, as well as a second-place qualifying team.

     

    • Applying for a job in Richland One is faster and easier now, thanks to the district’s implementation of an online application system called Frontline. Prospective candidates can apply for positions on their computers, cell phones or other mobile devices.

     

    • Dreher and A.C. Flora high schools were ranked among the top 15 high schools in South Carolina in the U.S. News & World Report “Best High Schools” recognition program. The national program ranked Dreher as the seventh-best high school in South Carolina and A.C. Flora as the state’s 15th-best high school.

     

    • Dreher High School sophomore Leon Wang and junior Michael Shimizu participated in the National Chemistry Olympiad, a prestigious exam for which only eight high school students from South Carolina were selected to compete. Leon and Michael qualified for the competition based on their high scores on the Local Chemistry Olympiad, a rigorous 110-minute test that covers collegiate-level chemistry.

     

    • Dreher High School senior Anthony Androulakis was selected for a special scientific experience – the 2019 National Youth Science Camp (NYSCamp), a summer camp designed to honor and challenge some of the nation’s rising STEM leaders. Androulakis is one of two delegates from South Carolina chosen to attend the camp this summer in West Virginia.

     

    • Fourteen Richland One schools were formally recognized at ceremonies honoring them as being among the healthiest schools in the nation. In 2018, Richland One had the most National Healthy Schools Award winners of any South Carolina school district.

     

    • Lower Richland High School coach Rickey Griddine is a legend and star maker in track and field in South Carolina. On March 23, Coach Griddine was surrounded by his very proud family as he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the South Carolina Track and Cross Country Coaches Association.

     

    • Arden Elementary School third-grader Laycee Conway was the first-place winner at the Jr. Chef’s Kids in the Kitchen Afterschool Cooking Contest sponsored by The Junior League of Columbia. “Laycee’s Pita Pocket Pizza” plant-based recipe received the highest scores from the judges and was featured on a menu at district schools.

     

    • Two Dreher High School seniors earned perfect scores on their Advanced Placement (AP) exams, an accomplishment that few students in the world achieve. According to the College Board, which administers the exams, they are among an elite group of students to earn every point possible on the AP exams they took in May 2018.

     

    • Richland One recognized 190 eighth graders who qualified academically as Middle School Scholars.  To qualify, Scholars much take at least two gifted and talented courses each academic year and maintain at least a 3.5 GPA with no grade below a C in non-gifted and talented courses. They are also required to do extracurricular activities and community service.

     

    • Richland One employees contributed nearly $90,000 to the United Way of the Midlands through the district’s 2018-2019 United Way Campaign. Richland One had more sites (eight) with 100 percent employee participation in the campaign than any other district in the Midlands.

     

    • Caughman Road Elementary School was designated as a World Citizen International Peace Site for its outstanding efforts to promote peace, which is a core Montessori principle. Caughman is one of four schools in Richland One offering Montessori education.

     

    • Richland One’s proud tradition of excellence in athletics and a longstanding record of multiple state championships each year continued during the 2018-2019 school year. Student-athletes from Dreher and A.C. Flora high schools took home three top prizes in the state swim championships. The A.C. Flora girls tennis team won the Class 4A state championship. A Columbia High wrestler won the Class 2A/1A state championship title in the 126-pound weight class. The W.J. Keenan High School boys basketball team won the Class 3A state championship. Dreher’s boys soccer team won its first state championship title. Richland One student-athletes brought home seven state championships in individual and team track and field events.

     

    • This year’s class of Academic All-Stars (242) was the largest in the history of the recognition program, which began during the 2001-2002 school year. To qualify as Academic All-Stars, students must have at least a 3.5 GPA, rank in the top 10 percent of their high school’s senior class and have no grade lower than a C for any subject taken for high school credit.

     

    • Richland One Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon was named the 2019 Administrator of the Year by the South Carolina chapter of the National School Public Relations Association.

     

    • Annie Burnside Elementary School was named a Leader in Me Lighthouse School by the FranklinCovey company. The honor recognizes Burnside’s outstanding results in developing student leaders and improving the school’s culture by using the Leader in Me process.

     

    • A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in May 2019 to celebrate for Richland One’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) program at Eau Claire High School, which began in August. The program, which was established through a partnership between Richland One and the S.C. Trucking Association, is the first high school CDL training program in South Carolina and only the third in the nation.

     

    • Me’Linda Legette, administrative assistant at the Challenger Learning Center, was named Richland One’s 2019-2020 Classified Employee of the Year.  Shawn Norris, physical education teacher at Satchel Ford Elementary School, was named the district’s 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year.

     

    • All five students graduating from Richland One’s Project SEARCH program this year already have jobs at local businesses. For the past two years, Richland One has partnered with Embassy Suites, the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department and other agencies to train special needs high school students to work in the hotel industry. Students selected for the program do a year-long internship at Embassy Suites in Columbia, learning various skills in housekeeping, laundry, food preparation and guest services.

     

    • Nearly 400 students completed career and technology education (CATE) programs of study during the 2018-2019 school year. Several of this year’s CATE Completers are seniors who will be graduating with state and nationally recognized certifications which will give them a competitive advantage as they prepare to head to college or enter the workforce or military.

     

    • Seven Richland One high school seniors and one junior, earned enough college credit to be awarded a General College Studies Certificates from Midlands Tech this year. They also participated in the college’s commencement ceremony.

     

    • Lower Richland High School senior Zhariah Walker achieved perfect attendance and was awarded $3.5 million in scholarship offers. Achieving perfect attendance runs in her family. Zhariah follows in the footsteps of her mother and older brother Jamal in attaining this goal.

     

    • To date, four Richland One students have received National Merit Scholarships, one of the nation’s most prestigious honors.

     

    • Richland One’s Class of 2019 graduates collectively received more than $86.5 million in scholarship offers and other financial aid, setting a new district record. This year’s scholarship total exceeds last year’s class total by more than $3.3 million. With nearly $29 million in scholarships earned by its seniors, A.C. Flora High School had the highest total among district high schools.