Richland One 2020-2021 Points of Pride

2019 Graduates


    · It was a clean sweep! All 46 Richland One schools were named to the 2020 national list of America’s Healthiest Schools for promoting quality nutrition, regular physical activity and strong wellness policies. Five schools – A.C. Flora High, Brockman Elementary, Crayton Middle, Dreher High and Lower Richland High – won Silver Awards and 41 district schools were Bronze Award winners. Richland One is the second school district in South Carolina and the largest in the state to ever achieve 100%.


    · Four Richland One high school seniors were named semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. Finalists will be selected in February 2021, and scholarship winners will be announced in the spring and summer. Richland One congratulates the following seniors for their selection as semifinalists, an honor that less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors achieve:


    Dreher High School

    Alexander Anderson-McLeod

    Bryson Stakely

    Leon Wang


    A.C. Flora High School

    Michael B. Davis


    · Original songs by two Richland One music teachers have gone global and could be used by music teachers around the world. Two songs written by Forest Heights Elementary School teacher Salley Utley and one song written by Meredith Trobaugh of Bradley Elementary School were published in Music Play 2, a two-volume anthology of songs and lesson plans for early childhood music engagement. The collection compiled by national music publisher GIA Publications includes contributions from 57 expert practitioners from 13 countries.

    · Eau Claire High School sophomore TyQwasia Williams finished sixth among 16 student-athletes competing in the girls 15-16 year-old 400-meter hurdles at the 2020 AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) National Championship Junior Olympics in Florida in August. Her accomplishment earned her 1st All-American Honors in her age group. TyQwasia is a member of the Palmetto Flash Track Club, which is coached by Alcorn Middle School track and field head coach Jeorge Hicks.

    · Jack Parrot, a University of South Carolina golf star and A.C. Flora High School graduate, recently selected his Flora social studies teacher, Bailey Melvin, to be honored in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Extra Yard for Teachers Initiative. A story about Parrot and the impact Ms. Melvin had on his life will be broadcast on SEC Nation on the SEC Network. The recognition includes a $3,500 grant to Ms. Melvin to purchase school supplies and materials. The SEC and the College Football Playoffs (CFP) Foundation sponsor the Extra Yard project to support teachers and bring awareness to the importance of education.

    · Four articles from Richland One educators highlighting the success of district literacy, health, meal and parent partnership programs were recently published in a national John Hopkins University journal. The book, entitled Promising Partnerships Practices – An annual collection from the members of the National Network of Partnership Schools - John Hopkins University 2020, included the following submissions:

    o Academic Goals – Part I – p. 18, Brockman Elementary School – “ Make Your Mark: Family Literacy Night,” submitted by LaKenna McCrorey, parent and family engagement specialist

    o Non-Academic Goals – Part II – p. 31, W.G. Sanders Middle School – “Student Wellness Checks,” submitted by Andrenna A. Smith, principal of W.G. Sanders Middle School

    o Climate of Partnership – Part III – p. 39, Hand Middle School – “Parent Super Saturday,” submitted by B-Linda Rogers, parent and family engagement specialist

    o District – Part IV – p. 47, ”Richland One Strong: Meals for Children When Schools Closed,” submitted by Latorsha Murray, consultant, Office of Federal and State Programs


    · The writings and artwork of five Richland One students was featured in Kids in Print 2020, Richland Library’s annual youth literary magazine. The district extends is congratulations to the following young authors and artists:


    o Alice Dunlap, A.C. Flora High School

    o Lily Moftakhar, Crayton Middle School

    o Zara Shah-Fuente, Meadowfield Elementary School

    o Audrey Stuart, Rosewood Elementary School

    o Sadee Broughton, W.G. Sanders Middle School


    The poetry, stories, short plays, essays, drawings and photographs of 40 children from across the Midlands were selected for publication from the 200 submissions to the library in the 2019-2020 school year.


    · Southeast Middle School teacher Lekena Ackerman, an award-winning teacher who’s been known to wear colonial outfits and pirate costumes to engage her social studies students, was featured on NBC’s Today Show on September 21. A videotaped story about Ms. Ackerman and her students kicked off NBC’s TODAY Education Virtual Plaza series. She and some of her students also appeared live during the plaza segment. Ms. Ackerman’s accomplishments include being named the 2020 South Carolina Law Related Education Middle School Teacher of the Year by the SC Bar Law Related Education Division. Her students have excelled in the state Mock Trial competition and are the current state champions in the We The People Constitutional Convention Competition. Ms. Ackerman also is the current Teacher of the Year for Southeast Middle School.


    · W.A. Perry Middle School computer technology teacher Shannon Rister was named the Educator of the Month for September in the South Carolina Financial Literacy Master Teacher Program. “Without financial skills and a knowledge of good consumer behaviors, our students could face such life challenges as poor credit, overwhelming debt and inadequate savings,” said Treasurer Loftis, who announced the honor. “Ms. Rister’s dedication and commitment to teaching personal finance in the classroom will not only influence her students’ long-term financial habits but will also enhance their future quality of life.” The Master Teacher Program provides incentives to K-12 teachers who are experts in the area of financial literacy and have a desire to teach professional development workshops to other educators in their schools and districts.


    · A.J. Lewis Greenview Elementary School first-grade teacher Mukkaramah Smith recently received the Donald H. Graves Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing. This prestigious honor from the National Council of English Teachers (NCTE) recognizes exceptional teachers who have demonstrated how their teaching skills and methods have led to significant growth in students’ writing abilities.


    · When colleagues describe Lower Richland High School Career Specialist Cynthia Flemming-Tyler, expect to hear words like “impeccable,” “going the extra mile” and “an advocate for students.” Those exceptional qualities earned Ms. Flemming-Tyler a new honor as the 2020 Midlands Region Career Specialist of the Year. The award from the Midlands Education and Business Alliance (MEBA) recognizes outstanding educators who are preparing their students for the workforce through rigorous academics, real-world experiences and high-demand skills.


    · Lower Richland High School’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program was recertified for the next five years, making it the third school in the country to receive Cognia recertification. Lower Richland was one of the first high schools in the nation to go through the rigorous internal and external review process to maintain the prestigious Cognia STEM certification they first earned in the 2014-15 school year.


    · For the second consecutive year, Richland One’s high school graduation rate not only increased, it also exceeded the state average. In 2019, Richland One students and staff celebrated the district’s highest-ever graduation rate of 82.2%. This year, Richland One’s graduation rate increased by nearly a full point to 82.9%, exceeding the statewide average of 82.1%.


    · Lewis Greenview Elementary School music teacher Richelle Sinkler was named Richland One’s 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year, and Eau Claire High School social worker Carena Jones was named the district’s 2020-2021 Classified Employee of the Year. The district extends its congratulations to the winners, as well as the other employees who were finalists for these prestigious awards.

    Teacher of the Year finalists – Amanda Melvin, A.C. Flora High School; Lockey Plyler, Rosewood Elementary School; Senddrick Putnam, Logan Elementary School; Ashley Rhyne, Brennen Elementary School

    Classified Employee of the Year finalists – Rhoda Bowers, Brennen Elementary School; Gwendolyn Haynes-Etheredge, Office of Communications; Debra Lomas, Caughman Road Elementary School; Crawford Williams, Financial Services


    · Dr. Jamison Browder, a Meadowfield Elementary School pre-kindergarten teacher who has shown 4-year-olds the joy of growing vegetables, bird-watching and other wonders of nature, has been named Richland County’s Conservation Teacher of the Year by the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District. Dr. Browder leads environmental education initiatives at Meadowfield where he has coordinated multiple gardening projects and integrated gardening into the classroom using technology and Socratic seminars to better engage students. As the county winner, Dr. Browder advances to the statewide Conservation Teacher of the Year competition. He also received a $100 cash award and a $500 mini-grant to fund more conservation projects at Meadowfield.



    · Laura Gisler, Meadowfield Elementary School lead Paideia teacher, was selected as the recipient of the Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Excellence in Teaching Award presented by the South Carolina Council for the Social Studies. This award honors an educator who has made a significant effort to teach the concept of justice in a creative way and to promote civil rights or civil liberties while inspiring their students to improve the world through justice, service or advocacy.


    · It was a win for the history books. A.C. Flora High School golfer Gracie McCoy shot 2 over par October 27 to win the Girls 4A State Golf Championship, the first for a member of Flora’s girls golf team. Gracie’s historic accomplishment was amazing because the senior has only been playing golf since her tenth-grade year. At the competition, Flora also took home a silver team medal as state runner-up.


    · You could call them the “record breakers.” Star swimmers Jane Koch of Dreher High School and A.C. Flora’s Tanner Edwards recently shattered school and state swim records while winning individual state swim championships. Jane was crowned the State 4A champion in the girls 50 freestyle race, setting a school record with a time of 24.13 seconds. Star swimmer Tanner Edwards set new state records winning the 100-yard butterfly (49.72 seconds) and 100-yard backstroke (49.42 seconds). Flora's Darden Tate was crowned the 100-yard state breaststroke champion. Flora swimmers--Hill Teas, Benjamin Tanner, Tanner Edwards and Darden Tate--also won the 200-yard state medley relay race.


    · The new culinary arts wing recently added to Heyward Career and Technology Center won a design award from the Columbia chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The impressive facility, which includes a culinary arts classroom, kitchen, lab, serving station, walk-in freezer and courtyard, provides state-of-the-art equipment rivaling that of professional restaurants and food service venues. Culinary arts students will learn all aspects of hosting an event from planning the menu to serving the customers, giving them an advantage in preparing for careers in the hospitality and tourism industry.


    · How cool is this: This fall 11 teachers in Richland One and other Midlands districts learned how to build and launch model rockets and are now nationally certified to teach their students how to do it. The special model rocketry program – Becoming a Rocket Science Teacher (BARST) – was spearheaded, designed and taught by Robyn Jackson, mission commander at Richland One’s Challenger Learning Center. Commander Jackson was awarded special funding from the National Association of Rocketry that allowed the teachers to participate in the professional learning project.


    · The new culinary arts wing recently added to Heyward Career and Technology Center won two design awards: one from the South Carolina chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), as well as the Columbia chapter of the AIA. The impressive facility, which includes a culinary arts classroom, kitchen, lab, serving station, walk-in freezer and courtyard, provides state-of-the-art equipment rivaling that of professional restaurants and food service venues. Culinary arts students will learn all aspects of hosting an event from planning the menu to serving the customers, giving them an advantage in preparing for careers in the hospitality and tourism industry.


    · Historic. Unbelievable. Sweet. Those words may best describe A.C. Flora High School’s hard-fought journey to win its first-ever state football championship. By a score of 42-7, the Falcons’ powerhouse team defeated North Myrtle Beach High School December 5 to capture the 2020 Class 4A State Football Championship, the school’s first and Richland One’s first state football championship in 50 years. The undefeated Falcons, who went into the championship game with a 9-0 record, proved their tenacity and talent to overcome a winless season in 2017.


    · This school year, local businesses donated more than $30,000 to Richland One’s Office of Nutrition Services to help families in need stretch their grocery dollars. Earlier this year, T-Mobile donated $5,000 and Food Lion gave $22,200 to Nutrition Services to purchase grocery store gift cards that were distributed to Richland One students. On November 6, the district received two more generous donations: $2,500 from Breakthru Beverage and $1,000 from Black Pages. Nutrition Services will use these funds to purchase gift cards that will be distributed to high school students to encourage them to participate in the district’s free meal program.


    · Team Richland One raised $18,832 to fight breast cancer through the district’s participation in Prisma Health’s annual Walk for Life and Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon fundraiser. This year district walkers and runners, faced with the challenge of a pandemic that cancelled Prisma Health’s annual in-person community event, relied on tenacity and creativity to raise money virtually and complete their individual walks and runs. Some, including breast cancer survivors, made their treks walking on beaches, running in the mountains, riding pink bikes or gathering their families and friends in their local neighborhoods and parks.  Some schools and departments hosted on-campus Pink for Prisma socially-distanced walks and runs, and the district sponsored a Pink Out Day on October 30.


    · With a score of 289, the A.C. Flora High School Falcons won their first Class 4A State Competitive Cheerleading Championship on December 19, the school's second state athletics championship that month.


    · Dreher High School seniors Jazhara Solan and Leon Wang earned early admission to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the most prestigious universities in the country. Of the 15,100 students nationwide who apply for Early Action admission, MIT is expected to admit about 687.


    · The Eau Claire High School Orchestra was awarded an $8,771 grant from the Mockingbird Foundation, a nonprofit started by fans of the rock band Phish. Money from this highly competitive, prestigious grant will be used to purchase electric stringed instruments including violins, a viola, cello and double bass. Eau Claire was one of only 16 schools nationally and the only South Carolina school to receive the grant. Nearly 1,000 schools, centers and nonprofit organizations from across the country applied for the grants.


    · Eight Richland One middle and high school students received impressive ratings from the South Carolina Band Directors Association. Seven Crayton Middle School students received superior ratings, which is the highest possible score a student musician can achieve. A Lower Richland High School student received an “excellent” rating on her performance.


    · W.J. Keenan High School’s STEM program was nationally recertified by Cognia for the next five years. Cognia is a nonprofit organization which offers accreditation and certification assessments for schools nationally and internationally.


    · Dreher High School orchestra students received multiple honors, including two perfect scores, in the South Carolina Music Educators Association’s Solo and Ensemble Virtual Festival 2020. Students Catherine Akhvlediani and Ryan Borkowski earned perfect scores for their individual performances. Altogether, Dreher music students received 27 “superior” and two “excellent” ratings. “Superior” is the highest distinction awarded at Solo and Ensemble.


    · Ten Richland One teachers were awarded the highest teaching credential of their profession – National Board certification. This year, three district teachers earned National Board certification and seven others renewed their National Board certification. The district now has 184 National Board-certified teachers.


    · Three Dreher High School students won Regional Scholastic Art Awards in the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition, a national high school competition sponsored by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. Individual paintings by students Gayle Boyd and Layla Davis received the Golden Key Award, which qualifies them to compete in the national division. Student artist Julia Gonzalez Del Valle received the Silver Key Award for her painting.


    · Richland One student-musicians earned 50 All-State and Region Band honors in virtual competitions sponsored by the South Carolina Band Directors Association. In the regional competition, Richland One middle and high school students competed against students from schools in Chester, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lancaster, Richland and York counties. District students earning All-State honors competed against South Carolina’s top student musicians.


    · Twenty-five Richland One students earned seats on the Midlands Region Orchestra following their virtual auditions before the South Carolina Music Educators Association. Students had to prepare a scale and two pieces for their performances.


    · Four Richland One high school seniors advanced to become finalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program:  A.C. Flora High School student Michael B. Davis and Dreher High School students Alexander Anderson-McLeod, Bryson Stakely and Leon Wang. Scholarship winners in this prestigious high-stakes competition will be announced in the spring and summer.


    · Three Lower Richland High School biology students had the honor of presenting their research at the 49th Annual (Virtual) South Carolina Department of Defense Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.  AllenDave Cabanayan presented his research on the science behind gaming. Anala Nelson, a Lower Richland varsity basketball player, was intrigued by the impact of height on lung capacity. Antonia Belton’s research topic, “Hot and Spicy Acid,” showed the harmful effects of eating Takis, a popular spicy snack among school-aged students. The prestigious science competition among South Carolina students was a joint effort among the research offices of the US Departments of the Air Force, the Army, and the Navy, the National Science Teachers Association and the University of South Carolina.


    · Seven Richland One choral students were selected for the South Carolina All-State Chorus in recent virtual competitions sponsored by the South Carolina Music Educators Association.


    · Two Richland One schools were awarded environmental grants from the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District. This spring Pendergrass Fairwold students will use their $1,000 RSWCD grant to plant and maintain a variety of herbs and vegetables in the school’s greenhouse. A $500 grant to Dreher High school will fund a conservation newsletter and vermicomposting (earthworms used to turn food scraps into a soil amendment) project led by Dreher student Sophia Austermiller.


    · Layla Davis, a gifted artist in Dreher’s AP art program, won a social media digital painting contest sponsored by the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. The contest’s theme was “What It Means to be a Man.” Layla won $250 and her artwork will be published and used by the coalition to spread awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault. 


    · Richland One, in partnership with Apprenticeship Carolina, established South Carolina’s first certified pre-apprenticeship program. The goal is to prepare students to enter and succeed in registered apprenticeship programs. These programs will integrate an approved training curriculum based on industry standards, educational and pre-vocational services, hands-on training through a simulated lab experience or volunteer opportunities, and assistance in applying to apprenticeship programs.


    · The South Carolina Department of Education designated Richland One as a Purple Star School District in recognition of the district’s significant commitment to have programs and resources in place to support military families. Richland One is the fifth South Carolina school district to be awarded the Purple Star designation.


    · The W.J. Keenan High School girls basketball team won the Class 3A state championship for the second consecutive year. The Lady Raiders defeated Bishop England High School 62-55 to bring home the team’s fifth state title and the second in a row.


    · Columbia High School wrestler Elijah Mervin capped off a great senior season by winning the State Class 2A Wrestling title in his weight class (182 pounds). Teammate Fontroy “Troy” Randolph finished third in the state in his 106-pound weight class. Mikale Hare, a 195-pound junior, finished fourth in the state championships in his weight class this year.


    · Two more Richland One teachers achieved the highest teaching credential available in their profession. Columbia High School teacher Parneeta Myadala recently earned National Board certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. John Codega, who teaches at A.C. Flora High School, was recertified by the National Board. To date (March 24, 2021), 12 Richland One teachers have received certification or renewed their National Board certification this school year. Other honorees were announced earlier this year. The district now has 186 National Board-certified teachers.


    · Lower Richland High School students took home eight first-place awards in the 2021 Virtual South Carolina HOSA State Leadership Conference, an annual competition which tests the skills and knowledge of students interested in health care careers. Students who placed first, second, or third on the state level are eligible to compete in the 2021 Virtual HOSA International Leadership Conference in June.  In addition to those honors, Lower Richland student Jhurni Williams won the Barbara H. James Award and the Outstanding HOSA Member Award. Lower Richland HOSA chapter also won a $100 donation for “Be the Match,” its national service learning project.


    · Richland One’s IT (Information Technology) Department won the prestigious 2021 Tyler Public Sector Excellence Award, which recognizes the district’s outstanding cybersecurity efforts. The award from Tyler Technologies Corporation, a company specializing in management systems for national and international government and public sector entities, is given to clients demonstrating excellence in developing, deploying or maintaining security systems.


    · The finalists for the district’s 2021-2022 Teacher of the Year and Classified Employee of the Year awards include the following:

    Finalists for 2021-2022 Richland One Teacher of the Year

    -Vanessa Bankhead – Brennen Elementary School

    -Laura Haverkamp – Dreher High School

    -Sally McCants – Rosewood Elementary School

    -Dr. Melany Rish – Carver-Lyon Elementary School

    -Sara Suber – Meadowfield Elementary School


    Finalists for 2021-2022 Richland One Classified Employee of the Year

    -Winnie Brown – Eau Claire High School

    -Lisa Flores – Hand Middle School

    -Joshua Harper – W.G. Sanders Middle School

    -Chandra Smith – Satchel Ford Elementary School

    -Melita Tillman – Heyward Gibbes Middle School


    The new Richland One Teacher of the Year and Classified Employee of the Year will be announced before the end of the 2020-2021 school year.


    · Dreher High School students Leon Wang and Zoe “Zuzu” Maltarich represented South Carolina at the 2021 U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad. They were two of 10 students in the state nominated to participate in the national competition. The National Olympiad is a rigorous two-part exam that tests students’ knowledge of a variety of chemistry topics including thermodynamics, kinetics, oxidation, atomic structure, molecular structure and organics. The national exam included content beyond the scope of high school chemistry.


    · Dreher High School student Leon Wang is a rock star when it comes to chemistry. Leon recently won first place in the chemistry division of the virtual South Carolina Region II Science and Engineering Fair sponsored by the University of South Carolina. His win comes on the heels of another honor. Leon represented South Carolina in the 2021 U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad, a rigorous two-part exam that tests students’ knowledge of a variety of chemistry topics with content beyond the scope of high school chemistry.


    · Two members of Hand Middle School’s female empowerment group, Queen Hornets, won first place in the spoken word category of the STEAMify (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) competition sponsored by Augusta University. STEAMify is a contest among students in grades 4-8 in Georgia and South Carolina who are challenged to solve real-world problems within the framework of science, technology and artistic education.


    · Dreher High School students had excellent showings at the State and Regional Mock Trial competitions, which were held virtually this year. At the State Competition, Dreher’s team won two of the three rounds and placed sixth overall. Dreher placed third at the Regional Mock Trial event, which qualified the team to advance to the state competition. In addition to being outstanding competitors in the courtroom, seniors Gabriella Cruz and Catie Willm were two of eight students in the state to be awarded SC Mock Trial Scholarships worth $1,000 each.  This competitive scholarship, as well as the Mock Trial competitions, are sponsored by the South Carolina Bar.


    · Two Richland One schools were ranked among the top high schools in South Carolina in the U.S. News & World Report "Best High Schools" Recognition Program. The national program ranked Dreher as the ninth-best high school in South Carolina and A.C. Flora as the 50th-best high school in our state. Among schools in the Metropolitan Columbia area, Dreher was ranked #2 and Flora was ranked #10.


    · Three Richland One seniors – Rori Goff, Tennare Jackson and Hannah Greene – have been awarded $20,000 scholarships from two local Rotary clubs. Rori, who attends C.A. Johnson High School and plans to pursue a degree in nursing, will receive a scholarship from the Columbia Rotary Club.  Tennare and Hannah were awarded their $20,000 scholarships by the Capital Rotary Club. Tennare, who attends Lower Richland High School, is also pursuing a general college studies certificate from Midlands Technical College. This Honor Roll student plans to seek a career in the computer science field. Hannah’s dedication to academics has resulted in her being on the A-Honor Roll, as well as the Principal’s Honor Roll, for four years at W.J. Keenan High School. Her career goal is to become a psychiatrist.


    · The A.C. Flora High School boys lacrosse team had a great season with a 14-3 record and earning the runner-up title for the state championship. This was Flora’s second time playing for the state championship. The team is coached by Mickey Purdy.


    · The South Carolina Theatre Association named Dreher High School drama teacher Kathleen Pennyway as the 2019-2020 Deborah Smith Hoffman Outstanding Mentor Teacher Award winner, an honor bestowed on an educator judged to have contributed the most to rising, new and experienced theatre educators. During the pandemic, she created resources to help teachers gain new skills in online learning, virtual performances and hybrid learning. She also led meetings for teachers to share their successes and challenges of online learning.


    · W.J. Keenan High School student Myles Branic was named a member of the 2021 South Carolina Teaching Fellows cohort at Winthrop University. The award, which is sponsored by the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA), recruits talented high school seniors into the teaching profession.  Fellows receive up to $24,000 in yearly scholarships (up to $6,000 a year for four years) while they complete a degree leading to teacher certification. A Fellow agrees to teach in South Carolina one year for every year he or she receives the Fellowship. 


    · Keri McKelvey, a sixth-grade math teacher at W.A. Perry Middle School, was named the Junior League of Columbia’s 2020-2021 New Member of the Year, an award given to a member who exemplifies successful leadership qualities and a demonstrated commitment to the Junior League. As a League member, she brought together girls from schools across the district and created a book club that partnered with Mountains to Midlands Girl Scouts, a council of the Girls Scouts of South Carolina that includes 22 counties.


    · Columbia High School student and Air Force JROTC Cadet Jiquais Jackson was one of 100 cadets across the nation selected for this summer’s virtual Air Force JROTC Cyber Academy, a prestigious program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Over the course of eight weeks, cadets will build their technology skills and earn college credits as well as industry IT certification while taking online programs at universities that include Cal Poly Pomona, Dakota State University, Norwich University, Tennessee Tech and University of Colorado – Colorado Springs. The Cyber Academy, which exposes cadets to cyber operations, programs, and infrastructure, gives select cadets a head start in their pursuit of technology careers.


    · A.C. Flora High School senior Jaylen Cocklin, who plans to pursue a government and history degree from Harvard University in the fall, was awarded a $10,000 scholarship by the Columbia Rotary Club. Jaylen’s ultimate career goal is to become a lawyer. Jaylen is the fourth Richland One student this year to receive a scholarship from a local Rotary club.


    · C.A. Johnson High School student Alyssa Earnhardt won double honors in the U.S. Department of Justice 18th Annual Project Sentry Logo Contest, a statewide project where students illustrate ways to prevent gun violence in schools. Alyssa was the first-place winner in the high school division, as well as the 2021 overall winner, for her anti-gun violence design which will appear in upcoming Project Safe Neighborhood publications.


    · With a perfect 22-0 record, the A.C. Flora High School boys tennis team captured the Class 4A state tennis championship title May 15 in a 4-2 win against the Beaufort High School Eagles. This year’s state championship win was the team’s second since 2015.


    · Southeast Middle School career counselor Winona Belton was named the Midlands Region Career and Technical Education Counselor of the Year. The award recognizes high-quality career guidance programs that help students develop well-defined career and educational goals to prepare them for the workforce and college.


    · Musical instruments owned by the late international jazz musician Roger Pemberton, who played with legends such as The Jackson 5, Judy Garland and Ray Charles, were given to Richland One band students. His widow, Mildred Pemberton, wanted to make sure his instruments ended up in the hands of students who would love them and continue playing them. Students who received Pemberton’s instruments include Patience Miller of Eau Claire High School and Dreher High School students Bryson Stakely, Catherine Gillam, Taliyah Richardson and Daniela Manzano.


    · Thirteen was a lucky number for Richland One student-athletes competing in the Class 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A State Track and Field Championships May 21-22. Richland One students won 13 individual and team state titles in the competitions this past weekend. The district extends its congratulations to these amazing students, their coaches, parents and supporters.








    Desmond Martin

    200-meter dash

    C.A. Johnson


    Xzavier Shaw

    Triple jump

    C.A. Johnson


    Jaevon Riley

    400-meter hurdles

    C.A. Johnson


    Desmond Martin

    Terrill Hopkins

    Avonte Grant

    Delante Belton

    4x100-meter relay

    C.A. Johnson


    Terrill Hopkins

    Joevon Riley

    Travon Riley

    Brian McIntyre

    4x400-meter relay

    C.A. Johnson


    Shaun Wyatt

    400-meter hurdles



    Jacobie Sims

    400-meter hurdles

    W.J. Keenan


    Jacobie Sims

    Quincey Harris

    Joshua White

    Ryan Glenn

    4x400-meter relay

    W.J. Keenan


    Robert McCray

    High jump

    A.C. Flora


    John O’Cain

    Pole vault

    A.C. Flora









    TyQwasia Williams

    400-meter hurdles

    Eau Claire


    Timoni Porterfield

    Long jump



    Madison Gibson

    Aaliyah Lewis

    Alicia Lewis

    LaRonda Quattlebaum

    4x100-meter relay

    A.C. Flora



    · Rosewood fifth-grade teacher Sally McCants was named Richland One’s 2021-2022 Teacher of the Year and Hand instructional assistant Lisa Flores was named the district’s 2021-2022 Classified Employee of the Year. Mrs. McCants, who has taught in the district for 21 years and comes from four generations of Richland One students, said she was inspired to become a teacher by her grandmother. At Hand, Mrs. Flores does tutoring, translations and anything else that’s needed to assist ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) students and their teachers. She said she goes the extra mile for her students because she’s strongly committed to getting them ready for the future.


    · A.C. Flora High School’s boys golf team is a powerhouse. The team won its 15th state championship May 18, defeating North Augusta to bring home the Class 4A title. The Falcons shot 603 in a 36-hole tournament. This year’s victory was dedicated to last year’s team that could not compete because of COVID-19 restrictions.


    · Three Richland One students were named as winners of the highly prestigious National Merit Scholarships, which recognize outstanding academic achievement. Dreher High School student Leon Wang, who plans to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to study engineering and physics, was awarded a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Michael B. Davis of A.C. Flora High School and Bryson J. Stakely of Dreher were awarded National Merit Scholarships financed by the University of South Carolina, where Michael plans to pursue a degree in physical therapy, and Bryson will seek a degree in music. Winners of scholarships from colleges and universities were selected from among the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program finalists who plan to attend their institutions. These awards provide $500 to $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study.


    · Dreher High School senior Leon Wang is something of a “Renaissance man.” This National Merit Scholar, who will be attending the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) this fall, was named Subway Male Student-Athlete of the Year by the South Carolina High School League. As Subway’s Student-Athlete of the Year, Leon received a $2,500 scholarship, which is awarded to a senior who displays excellence in academics, athletics and community service. Leon participated in cross country, was a champion wrestler, tutored high school and college students and was a member of the marching band. He also had a 5.507 GPA, was ranked first in his class and scored 1550 on the SAT. He plans to study engineering and physics at MIT.


    · Thirty-seven Richland One band students earned “excellent” or “superior” ratings, the highest possible designations, during the Spring 2021 Virtual Solo and Ensemble Performance Assessments sponsored by the South Carolina Band Directors Association. Students were required to prepare their music, record their performances and submit them virtually to be judged by a panel of experts.


    · The A.C. Flora High School baseball team held an iron grip on the No. 1 position from the beginning of the season to the end. On June 3, the Falcons defeated James Island High School 10-0 to win the 2021 Class 4A State Championship, the team’s seventh state championship title.


    · Richland One’s Class of 2021 graduates collectively received nearly $65.4 million in scholarship offers and other financial aid, $3.8 million more than last year.The Class of 2021 included 171 honor graduates as well as National Merit Scholarship winners and other graduates who plan to further their education at M.I.T., Harvard and other colleges and universities across the nation.

















    Eau Claire




    A.C. Flora




    C.A. Johnson




    W.J. Keenan




    Lower Richland




    Richland One Middle College









    · A.C. Flora High School soccer star Jackson Price was named Gatorade South Carolina Boys Soccer Player of the Year. The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguished Jackson as South Carolina’s best high school boys soccer player. As the state winner, he is now a finalist for the prestigious national award to be announced later this summer.


    · Seventeen A.C. Flora High School students earned the South Carolina Seal of Biliteracy, an award that recognizes students who have attained a certain level of proficiency in English and at least one additional world language by graduation. To earn the Seal of Biliteracy, students met English proficiency requirements and they took the Avant STAMP (Standards-Based Measurement of Proficiency) test to measure their proficiency levels in listening to, speaking, reading and writing Chinese (Mandarin), French, German or Spanish. Collectively, Flora students earned eight silver and 10 bronze awards, with student Juanita Galvis, earning double honors with awards in French and Spanish.


    · Three Richland One educators were among the 27 recognized by State Treasurer Curtis Loftis as South Carolina Financial Literacy Master Teachers, a designation that certifies that they have met specific qualifications to teach personal finance education in their classrooms. The district extends its congratulations to teachers Bailey Melvin of A.C. Flora High School and Tina Mickens of Crayton Middle School and to Career and Technical Education consultant Dr. Charnice Starks-Ray.


    · Cynthia Taylor and Mary Lou Schweickert were legends among state band teachers. The retired educators were recently honored by the South Carolina Band Directors Association (SCBDA) for their years of service, talent and dedication to their students and craft. Mrs. Taylor taught at W.A. Perry Middle School for 28 years, and she was affiliated with the SCBDA for 39 years as an adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor and drill instructor. Her colleague, Mrs. Schweickert, spent 40 years at Hand Middle School, teaching countless students and participating in numerous concerts that have entertained and delighted parents, students and the community. She was an SCBDA member for 40 years. The South Carolina House of Representatives recently passed a resolution commemorating her decades of service.