Richland One 2021-2022 Points of Pride

2021 Graduates
  • Three Richland One high school seniors were named semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. Dreher High School students Cassandra M. Escorcia, Shane A. Keup and Zoe K. Maltarich will compete for a finalist position and ultimately, for a chance to participate in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

    Richland One crushed its own record-high graduation rate and surpassed the state average again this year, with 85.8 percent of its students graduating on time. The South Carolina Department of Education released the latest graduation rate data as part of the 2021 school, district and state report cards. The on-time graduation rate is the percentage of students who earn a high school diploma in four years. Richland One’s 2021 graduation rate is just under three full percentage points higher than last year’s graduation rate of 82.9 percent, which had been the district’s highest-ever graduation rate until this year. Not only is this is the third consecutive year that Richland One’s graduation rate has increased, it is also the third consecutive year that the district’s graduation rate has exceeded the state average. The state average this year is 83.3 percent.

    The official launch of the Dominion Energy Power Forward Program, which serves as a conduit between the UofSC Darla Moore School of Business and students in Richland One took place in September at the Sonoco Pavilion. The event inaugurates a collaboration among the organizations that is designed to expose students to activities and resources that will peak their interests in pursuing degrees and careers in business. Students in Richland One and Two are eligible to participate in the program as early as their freshman year of high school.Richland One has received the 2021 Partnership District Award and two of its schools received 2021 Partnership School Awards from the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS) at Johns Hopkins University. This the school district’s fourth time being recognized for its progress in strengthening the leadership of partnerships and for guiding schools to develop goal-oriented programs for family and community engagement.

    Six Richland One schools have received 2022 Distinguished Arts Program (DAP) Grant Awards totaling more than $100,000. The grants are funded through the General Appropriations Act and administered by the South Carolina Department of Education (SDE). A.C. Moore Elementary, Alcorn Middle, Hand Middle, Heyward Gibbes Middle, Logan Elementary and Satchel Ford Elementary schools each earned the $18,000 grant award from SDE’s Office of Standards and Learning.

    New Richland One students received public library cards and new student accounts from Richland Library in October. This is the sixth year Richland One has participated in the ConnectED Library Card Project, which encourages public libraries to work with school districts and municipalities to guarantee every student within their respective communities has access to the library’s resources and services. Over that time, approximately 100,000 cards have been distributed and accounts have been opened.

    Richland One has joined nearly 500 other official sites nationwide to celebrate the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s next space science observatory. Prior to the launch of the telescope on Dec. 18, Richland One offered a range of training programs to bring STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) enrichment to its teachers who will share the knowledge with their students. “The Challenger Learning Center of Richland One is honored to be selected as an official NASA Community Event host for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope,” said Dr. Carolyn Donelan, Richland One’s lead flight director of the Challenger Learning Center. “The James Webb Space Telescope has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the universe as much as Hubble did. We want our students to be able to celebrate this generational moment and be able to say, ‘I remember when Webb launched.’”  Donelan said that the district has collected and curated resources for its teachers that they can easily incorporate into their lessons to prepare students to view and understand the launch. The resources are available to the public at The Challenger Learning Center. Webb is the most grand and premier space science telescope ever built and is led by NASA and European and Canadian space agencies. The international mission’s observatory will provide a fresh view of the cosmos and launch the field of astronomy into a new era. The Webb is expected to solve mysteries within the solar system, looking beyond to distant places and probing the origins of the universe and various unidentified structures. Exploration is to be extended to previous NASA missions like the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.The training provided to Richland One teachers included: a compilation of resources and information from NASA to be shared with students; key themes for the various other audiences; the science of the telescope; best practices in facilitating speaking engagements for experts; and virtual event strategies.

    Caleb Clark, Dreher High School’s track and field Coach, was named High School Coach of the Year, and Mark Davis, Hopkins Middle School’s head football coach, was named Middle School Coach of the Year.

    Rosewood Elementary School teacher Sally McCants was named 2021-2022 Teacher of the YearHand Middle School instructional assistant Lisa Flores was named 2021-2022 Classified Employee of the Year.

    Cathleen Lacey, curriculum resource teacher (CRT) at Crayton Middle School, has earned the designation of Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert for the 2021-2022 school year. She is one of only seven educators in the state to achieve that distinction this year, and this is her second consecutive year as an MIE Expert. The program recognizes visionaries in the field who are using technology to enhance the instruction of their colleagues for improved student outcomes. For the classrooms at Crayton where Lacey has taught for two years and was recently named CRT, the distinction is crucial.

    Nearly 1,500 Richland One seniors participated in the 2021 College and Career Expo which offered resources regarding various colleges and universities, career and technical education pathways, military options, scholarship opportunities and more. There were more than 70 colleges and universities registered to attend at the time of publication.

    Dreher High School seniors Parker Shea and Ada Shavo were named National Merit Commended Students based upon their scores on the PSAT.

    The following Richland One Orchestra students auditioned for the South Carolina Music Educators Association’s (SCMEA) Midlands Region Orchestra. Students had to perform a scale, a prepared piece and sight read brand new music.  These students are eligible to audition for the South Carolina All State Orchestra. SPONSORING TEACHERS: Brian McCants – Hand Middle School; Katherine Pollock – Crayton Middle School; Nisan Ak – CA Johnson High School; Jessica Hanken – AC Flora High School; Nathan Tucker – Dreher High School; and Tyler Henderson – Eau Claire High School 6th-8th Grade Region Orchestra: 4th Chair Violin 1—Kaden Lim from Hand MS10th Chair Violin 1 – Davis Turbeville from Crayton MS1st Chair Violin 2 - Micah Doberne-Schor from Hand MS4th Chair Violin 2—Tarun Bulusu from Hand MS9th Chair Violin 2 – Courtney Jolly from Hand MS10th Chair Violin 2 – Chloe Thompson from Hand MS3rd Chair Violin 3 – Alex Greytak from Hand MS; and 5th Chair Viola – Zachary Thomas from Crayton MS 9th-10th Grade Region Orchestra: 3rd Chair Violin 1—Samuel Schatz from Dreher HS5th Chair Violin 1 – Vincent Hernandez-Garcia from Eau Claire HS10th Chair Violin 1 – Diego Thrasher from Dreher HS17th Chair Violin 2 – Rajan Boddie from Dreher HS18th Chair Violin 2 – Sara Weston from AC Flora HS6th Chair Viola – Rebecca Weston from AC Flora HS3rd Chair Cello—Sarah Bobertz from Dreher HS12th Chair Cello—Kathryn Adler from Dreher HS2nd Alternate Cello – Amelie Galimba from Dreher HS; and 2nd Chair Double Bass—Farrell Rose from Dreher HS 11th-12 Grade Region Orchestra: 4th Chair Violin 1—Juliet Swaim from AC Flora HS10th Chair Violin 2 – Bethany Scriven from Dreher HS12th Chair Violin 2 – Elisabeth Eleazer from CA Johnson HS14th Chair Violin 2 – Katherine Tam from Dreher HS6th Chair Viola—Arica Spencer from Eau Claire HS7th Chair Viola—Grace Ilunga from AC Flora HS8th Chair Viola—Milaun Johnson from AC Flora HS13th Chair Viola – Adam Adler from Dreher HS5th Chair Cello—Catherine Akhvlediani from Dreher HS; and 2nd Alternate Cello – Sarah Burger from AC Flora HS.

    Master Class with singer-actress and former Miss America Vanessa Williams was held in the Dreher High School auditorium in September. Some Richland One visual and performing arts students were in attendance and had the opportunity to perform for her and others watched a livestream of the Master Class from their schools. The annual event, designed to ignite students’ interest in the arts, was held by Richland One in partnership with the Auntie Karen Foundation and its “Legends of …” concert series. Williams performed during the Master Class and in concert with the Colour of Music Festival Orchestra at the Koger Center for the Arts.

    Reginald China, a media technology instructor at Richland One’s Heyward Career & Technology Center, has been named the 2021 SkillsUSA South Carolina Advisor of the Year.

    The Richland One Board of School Commissioners has received the Award for Urban School Board Excellence from the Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE), which is part of the National School Boards Association (NSBA). The award recognizes urban school board excellence in four core areas: school board performance, academic improvement, educational equity and community engagement. The award presentation was made in September during CUBE’s 2021 Annual Conference in Atlanta.

    Heyward Career and Technology Center’s Victory Program has opened a school-based enterprise called Victory Café which will sell coffee and pastries. The Café will be open each day from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Proceeds from the Victory Café will be used to provide activities and incentives for the special needs students who are enrolled in the Victory Program, ages 18-21.

    Richland One announces the sponsorship of U.S. Department of Agriculture Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) for the 2021– 2022 school year (SY). The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federal program that provides reimbursements for nutritious meals and snacks to eligible children who are enrolled for care at participating schools in the Extended-Day, Child Care, Athletic Tutorial or other school-based after school care programs in Richland One.

    J. Wright of Columbia High School is one of two 2021 St. Andrews Rotary Scholarship recipients.

    Eau Claire High School’s Asia Watson was named 2021-2022 South Carolina Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) state president.

    Twenty-three Richland One art students and one teacher were among more than 250 who received honors and awards in the 2021 South Carolina State Fair’s Art Competition. Richland One students competed in 2-D, 3-D and photography divisions with more than 900 other K-12 students from across the state. “We are so proud of all the Richland One students who contributed their artwork to the South Carolina State Fair,” said N. Walter Graham, III, Richland One’s coordinator of visual and performing arts. “The talent our students exhibit and the heart that our teachers give through encouragement and passion is unmatched. Thank you all for making our district shine so brightly.” Among the front-runners were first-place winners of the 2-D divisions for elementary and high school – Ace Seawright, a fifth-grader at A.C. Moore Elementary School, and Katie Bauer, a ninth-grader at Dreher High School. The other award recipients are listed below. Christopher Nostrant, a visual art teacher at A.C. Flora High School, earned a merit award in the Professional Category for his painting. “I’m always impressed with what the teachers from Richland One produce,” said Barbara Crenshaw, student art superintendent for the South Carolina State Fair. “The work is always wonderful and displayed well. You can certainly see the growth from elementary to high school in all of our students.”

    SOUTH CAROLINA STATE FAIR WINNERS - FALL 2021: A.C. Flora High School Christopher Nostrant, Teacher: Jessy Gross, 10th Grade/K-12 2-D, Honorable Mention; Christopher Nostrant, Teacher/Visual Art, Merit Award; A.C. Moore Elementary School Randall Clamp, Teacher: Hiram Rudell, 2nd Grade/K-12 2-D, Honorable Mention; Maddie Warren, 3rd Grade/K-12 2-D, Honorable Mention; Eli Simmons, 4th Grade/K-12 2-D, Honorable Mention; Ace Seawright, 5th Grade/K-12 2-D, 1st Place; Dreher High School Katherine Pfrommer, Jennifer Gorlewski, Teachers: Katie Bauer, 9th Grade/K-12 2-D, 1st Place; Juliet Jones, 9th Grade/K-12 2-D, 2nd Place; Gayle Boyd, 11th Grade/K-12 2-D, 3rd Place; Muireall Dickson, 11th Grade/K-12 3-D, Honorable Mention; Lucas Scott, 11th Grade/K-12 - Photography, 3rd Place; Julia Gonzalez Del Valle, 11th Grade/K-12 2-D, Honorable Mention; Lower Richland High School – Oliver Williams, Teacher: Taylor Dwyer, 10th Grade/K-12 - Photography, Honorable Mention; Makayla Jones, 11th Grade/ K-12 2-D, Honorable Mention; Rosewood Elementary SchoolCaroline Carson, Teacher: James Godfrey-Sanchez, Kindergarten/K-12 2-D, 2nd Place; Alexandra Peryshkova, Kindergarten/K-12 2-D, Honorable Mention; Mia Ely, Kindergarten/K-12 2-D, Honorable Mention; Ryan Bolton, Kindergarten/K-12 2-D, Honorable Mention; Chance Nickens, Kindergarten/K-12 3-D, 3rd Place; Ethan Powers, 1st Grade/K-12 2-D, Honorable Mention; Tucker Matthews, 2nd Grade/K-12 2-D, 3rd Place; Linhe Zhang, 2nd Grade/K-12 2-D, Honorable Mention; Caroline Painter, 5th Grade/K-12 2-D, Honorable Mention; Benjamin Wilson, 5th Grade/K-12 3-D, 3rd Place

    Seven Richland One student-athletes were selected by the Richland County Recreation Commission as nominees for the 2021 High School Football Player of the Year Award. This prestigious award is presented annually to the top varsity high school senior football player in the county based on strength of character, academic achievement, community involvement and athletic ability. In addition to the award, the winner will receive a $2,000 scholarship. Seventeen nominees were selected from public and private high schools in Richland County. Richland One’s nominees are: Lee Davis of Lower Richland High School; Tyrell Green of A.C. Flora High School; Randall McDaniel of Columbia High School; Jaevon Riley of C.A. Johnson High School; Jamodicus Singleton of Eau Claire High School; Joshua Smith of Dreher High School; and Marquece Williams of W.J. Keenan High School. The winner will be selected by a panel comprised of representatives from Columbia media outlets and the 17 Richland County head football coaches. Head coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players. The speaker for this year’s event was David Davis, a Lower Richland High School graduate who played football at Clemson University and with the New York Giants. Access to the event will be available via the Richland County Recreation Commission’s YouTube and Facebook accounts. 

    Gabby Brown, a 2021 graduate of Dreher High School, won the 2021 National Congressional Art Competition for South Carolina’s Second Congressional District. As the winner, Brown’s photograph will hang in the Cannon Tunnel of the U.S. Capitol for one year. The tunnel is the most highly traveled access point between the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Capitol. The competition is sponsored by the Congressional Institute and is a way to acknowledge the talent of young artists within the District and throughout the nation. The artwork had to represent this year’s theme, The Palmetto State: Capturing the Spirit of South Carolina. Brown’s photograph is of her sister outstretched on grass with flowers adorning her hair. The competition, which began 40 years ago, was open to all high school students. One winner is selected to represent each of the more than 300 participating congressional districts.

    Richland One’s 2021 Navy Day and Military Appreciation Ceremony featured Rear Admiral Jeffrey S. Scheidt, who was recently appointed to serve as deputy principal cyber advisor to the defense secretary by the U.S. Department of Defense. He previously served as the deputy chief of computer network operations at the National Security Agency. The day commemorates the national observation of “Navy Day” which lauds military personnel who served and are serving in the Navy. The event had an opening session with special guests and dignitaries followed by breakout sessions hosted for the students addressing topics of interest to include (and not limited to): Navy/Military Branch Service; Service-Ready and College-Ready Preparation; Military Family (Purple Star) Opportunities; Visual and Performing Arts Navy Opportunities; and STEM Away…Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Navy Pathways. Navy and other military personnel were present, as will 9th - 12th grade students from throughout the district.

    "Richland One Records" released a new hit single, "In The Zone!" by W.J. Keenan Student Kia Beats.

    Twenty-eight Richland One orchestra students earned a chair in the South Carolina Music Educators Association’s (SCMEA) Midlands Region Orchestra. The students had to perform a scale, play a prepared piece and sight-read new music. These students are now eligible to audition for the South Carolina All-State Orchestra later this fall. The culminating clinic was held on Nov. 20 at Irmo High School. The sponsoring teachers from each school are as follows: Brian McCants, Hand Middle School; Katherine Pollock, Crayton Middle School; Nisan Ak, C.A. Johnson High School; Jessica Hanken, A.C. Flora High School; Nathan Tucker, Dreher High School; and Tyler Henderson, Eau Claire High School. The regional orchestra members, by grade level, are listed below.

    REGION ORCHESTRA (GRADES 6-8)

    Name of Student

    School

    Chair and Instrument

    Tarun Bulusu

    Hand Middle School

    4th Chair Violin 2

    Micah Doberne-Schor

    Hand Middle School

    1st Chair Violin 2

    Alex Greytak

    Hand Middle School

    3rd Chair Violin 3

    Courtney Jolly

    Hand Middle School

    9th Chair Violin 2

    Kaden Lim

    Hand Middle School

    4th Chair Violin 1

    Chloe Thompson

    Hand Middle School

    10th Chair Violin 2

    Zachary Thomas

    Crayton Middle School

    5th Chair Viola

    Davis Turbeville

    Crayton Middle School

    10th Chair Violin 1

    REGION ORCHESTRA (GRADES 9-10)

    Name of Student

    School

    Chair and Instrument

    Kathryn Adler

    Dreher High School

    12th Chair Cello

    Sarah Bobertz

    Dreher High School

    3rd Chair Cello

    Rajan Boddie

    Dreher High School

    17th Chair Violin 2

    Amelie Galimba

    Dreher High School

    2nd Alternate Cello

    Vincent Hernandez-Garcia

    Eau Claire High School

    5th Chair Violin 1

    Farrell Rose

    Dreher High School

    2nd Chair Double Bass

    Samuel Schatz

    Dreher High School

    3rd Chair Violin 1

    Diego Thrasher

    Dreher High School

    10th Chair Violin 1

    Rebecca Weston

    A.C. Flora High School

    6th Chair Viola

    Sara Weston

    A.C. Flora High School

    18th Chair Violin 2

    REGION ORCHESTRA (GRADES 11-12)

    Name of Student

    School

    Chair and Instrument

    Adam Adler

    Dreher High School

    13th Chair Viola

    Catherine Akhvlediani

    Dreher High School

    5th Chair Cello

    Sarah Burger

    A.C. Flora High School

    2nd Alternate Cello

    Elisabeth Eleazer

    C.A. Johnson High School

    12th Chair Violin 2

    Grace Ilunga

    A.C. Flora High School

    7th Chair Viola

    Milaun Johnson

    A.C. Flora High School

    8th Chair Viola

    Bethany Scriven

    Dreher High School

    10th Chair Violin 2

    Arica Spencer

    Eau Claire High School

    6th Chair Viola

    Juliet Swaim

    A.C. Flora High School

    4th Chair Violin 1

    Katherine Tam

    Dreher High School

    14th Chair Violin 2

    Dreher High School’s Marching Band competed in White Knoll High School’s Silver Classic in Lexington winning second place in Performance, Best Color Guard in class and the overall Spirit Award. On the same day, they competed in Colleton County High School’s Walterboro Classic, earning the first place award for performance in Division III, Best Percussion and Best Color Guard distinction. Their production, titled, What’s Inside is based on the music of Sara Bareilles and features the Dreher Dance Company and students from Dreher chorus, drama and guitar.

    Before students can fly a plane on their own and earn wings, the Air Force JROTC cadets in the Ground School class at Columbia High School have to learn the basics. This is the second year that Columbia High has offered the class, which started as a response to a worldwide pilot shortage and an appeal from Boeing to partner with the school to train pilots, said Major Ray Hammond, senior aerospace science instructor at Columbia High. “We visited Boeing in Charleston three years ago, and they want students to come to their program,” said Hammond. “Boeing, after one semester alone, was cherry-picking all of these students. So, they wouldn’t even let them finish and were taking them within six months.” Teaching the Ground School class is Jack Fastnaught, a certified flight instructor who worked as an air traffic controller for 35 years. On Mondays and Tuesdays, students learn the academics of aerodynamics and on Thursdays and Fridays, they are taught the tenets of AFJROTC. To add a level of excitement for the field of aviation and to give the students a practical application of what they learned about aerodynamics, the students work on repairing an aircraft rudder and engine on Wednesdays; by all accounts, the hands-on day is a big hit. There are also AFJROTC leadership and physical fitness components of the Ground School class that are taught by Hammond and Sgt. Jimmy Gaffney. Cadet Kenneth Spann, a student who has earned his drone certification while in the class, said the Ground School has enhanced the AFJROTC experience for him. “It’s something new; something no other school I know of has,” said Spann. “There are lots of opportunities. It is fun, and you get to fly.” By “flying,” he means drones and model planes, while he gains the classroom knowledge he needs to soar. Hammond said the class is designed to help high school students who are interested in the field of aviation get an early start by earning their private pilot license (PPL) at no cost through the HQ (Headquarters) AFJROTC Flight Academy’s $25,000 scholarship. Students age 16 or older begin with a student pilot certificate which is merely a “license to learn.” With it, there is no ground instruction, flight training or testing involved; it can be obtained online. PPL candidates must pass a written test and a flight test to obtain the license/certification. Fastnaught’s desire is for the Columbia High cadets to go on to qualify for the Flight Academy’s scholarship and gain their authorization to fly solo. He describes it as the ultimate for any pilot. “That’s a big milestone in a pilot’s life. Talk to any Air Force pilot, any commercial airline pilot and ask them if they remember the day they soloed, and it’s like the day you were married, the day you were born,” said Fastnaught. “It’s in the log book and it’s something everybody remembers.” The Flight Academy’s eight-week summer aviation training program is conducted at partnering universities across the nation and is open to cadets currently enrolled in high school AFJROTC programs and who have a minimum 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale); are in good standing in their unit; take an Air Force aviation aptitude test; provide instructor and school endorsements; and have a strong interest in aviation.    

    Richland One partners with Schneider Electric to advance Net Zero Energy Initiative. This project brings the district one step closer to its carbon neutrality goals; Net Metering Program helps fund onsite energy generation at each campus with financial credit back from the utility for excess power generation; and students benefit from new STEM curriculum on energy and sustainability. Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and sustainability, today announced a new project with the Richland County School District One (Richland One) in Columbia, South Carolina, to accelerate the district’s sustainability goal of achieving Net Zero energy consumption. The project will maximize the impact of energy upgrades due to be completed in 2022 by adding solar arrays on the roofs of 15 district campuses. The two phases of work will reduce the district’s energy bill by nearly 73 percent cumulatively, guaranteeing Richland One nearly $57 million in energy savings over the next 20 years. The new solar panels will more than fund themselves over their lifecycle and create a strong financial cash flow. Through an innovative Net Metering program, the district is turning their new solar arrays into an opportunity to generate renewable energy at each campus. In addition to reducing its operational costs through renewable energy, the district will receive financial credits from its local utility, Dominion Energy, for any excess power that has been generated but not consumed, and at the same rate they would have paid to purchase it. The addition of these solar arrays is the next step in a district-wide comprehensive infrastructure modernization project started in 2020, in order to tackle deferred maintenance and upgrades to HVAC to improve air quality. Energy and operational savings from this initial phase of work plus additional revenue from the renewable energy generation will help fund improvements across Richland One campuses, placing the district in a position to be less reliant on funding from taxpayers to upkeep schools. “School buildings with legacy equipment were a drain on energy and budgets,” said Justin Shutt, Business Development Manager, Schneider Electric. “We’re pleased to help Richland One truly transform its infrastructure in a way that not only helps achieve their sustainability goals, but also drastically cuts energy costs to free up millions of dollars for other district priorities.” With this ambitious energy infrastructure project came an opportunity to integrate new STEM curriculum for the district. Lessons about energy generation, conservation, carbon impact and sustainability will be taught in hands-on learning labs featuring the new equipment on each campus. “STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is a cornerstone of our curriculum across the district and we are excited to show our students how the earth’s natural resources can be transformed and create such a substantial impact in their lives,” said Miles Hanley, Energy Manager, Richland One. “Our new onsite renewable energy generation program accomplishes several things for the District. 1) It enhances our student’s learning environments. 2) It transforms our budget outlook in a very positive way for years to come. And 3) Provides a STEM educational platform for our students and community.” Schneider Electric has successfully implemented 850 ESPC projects with our clients, delivering $3 billion in infrastructure modernization and energy savings. For more information on how Schneider Electric helps school districts tackle their top priorities with energy efficiency, visit se.com/us/enable.  

    Dreher’s High School’s Marching Band competed in the SCBDA 3A Lower State Championship at Westwood High School, earning second place and a Superior rating. This year’s production, “What’s Inside,” is based on the music of singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles and features Dreher’s dance company, chorus, drama and guitar students.

    Dreher High School’s Sam Kolowith and Emma Charlton were named individual district cross country champions. The school’s girls cross country team was named district champions, while the boys team was district runner-up. All-district recognition (top 7) went to Dreher’s Sam Kolowith; Emma Charlton; Eli Roth; Beth Walker; and Naja Weinkle.

    Hopkins Middle School began a mentoring program with 30 male students. They meet with them every Monday during SEL. After the eight-week cycle, the students receive a certificate of completion. The goal is to have successfully mentored 120 male students each school year.

    Anelle Anderson of Lower Richland High School; Penny Caughman of Hyatt Park Elementary School; Jennifer Helmly of Brennen Elementary School; Mildred Huff of W.S. Sandel Elementary School; and Melita Tillman of Gibbes Middle School were chosen from among 48 to receive the distinction of Bookkeeper of the Year for the 2021-2022 school year.

    The A.C. Flora girls tennis team won the Lower State Championship.

    The A.C. Flora High School varsity competitive cheerleaders have been named the 2021 Class 4A state champions. This is the second consecutive state championship the squad has won under the leadership of cheer coach Lyndsey West. It’s also the second in the school’s history. The competition was held Nov. 20 at Colonial Life Arena, and A.C. Flora’s squad was among 16 others in their division from across the state to compete as finalists. The Lady Falcons earned 297 points, the highest in the school’s history, for the win. Their closest competitor was Easley High School which earned 283 points. “We are absolutely thrilled to have won again this year,” said West. “This team has put in countless hours, practicing seven days a week to achieve this goal. Their determination and dedication are unmatched.” The school’s varsity cheerleaders are: Ivey Barber; Maggie Biggs; Brennan Brooker; Greer Cantrell; Annie Chetwood; Tia Curnias; Maddyn Elliott; Kayla Godwin; Alex Goodwin; Miah Henry; Katie Kelchner; Kinnedy Kitt; Crosland Lamb; Bradley Lindler; Adair Long; Hope Mangus; Izzie McCarley; Madeleine McCarter; Campbell McKenzie; Blythe Melton; Bryson Miles; Camryn Philson; Riley Potter; Laynie Ray; Anne Reynolds; and Mackenzie Van HoutenThe group will be formally recognized at the 2021 Fall Sports Award Ceremony.

    Eau Claire High School senior Javarion Canzater is the second student from the Richland One Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Program to earn a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) since the program’s inception in 2019. When it began, Richland One’s CDL program – established in partnership with the South Carolina Trucking Association – was the first of its kind in the state and third in the nation. Now there are three high school CDL training programs statewide and six nationwide. Canzater joins Justin Johnson, who graduated in 2020, as the first Richland One CDL Program students to receive their permits. Johnson has since received a diesel mechanic certification, obtained his CDL and gained employment as a mechanic. Canzater has plans to earn his CDL and take it on the road upon graduating.

    Four Richland One graduates and a retired Richland One educator will be inducted into the Richland One Hall of Fame in February, district officials announced at a November 16 news conference. The Richland One Hall of Fame was created to recognize Richland One alumni and other persons throughout the district’s history who have made significant contributions to Richland One, their communities, their professions and society as a whole. Induction into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor awarded to individuals by the Richland One Board of School Commissioners. Eighty-seven men and women have been inducted since the Hall of Fame was established in 2004. The members of the 2021 Richland One Hall of Fame induction class are: Kay Spann Byrd is a 1971 graduate of C.A. Johnson High School. Spann Byrd is an accomplished author who taught adult education in Richland One but spent most of her teaching career at two-year and four-year colleges and universities, and as an Army education counselor at Fort Jackson. She created and had built the first park in South Carolina dedicated in honor of persons affected by mental illness – The Star of Hope Park on the grounds of the William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute. The Star currently sits on the grounds of the G. Werber Bryan Psychiatric Institute. Byrd continues to serve the community through several organizations and initiatives, and she recently embarked on a new career in the field of real estate. Dr. Tanya C. Dillihay is a 1975 graduate of Lower Richland High School. Dillihay has dedicated her professional career to serving patients and families in Richland County. She retired as the medical director for the Division of Inpatient Services at the South Carolina Department of Mental Health. Dillihay works part-time with Columbia Area Mental Health Center, and she serves on the Admissions Committee at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. She also volunteers her time to help bring awareness to the issues surrounding mental health. She and her sisters established The Zack and Rachel Clarkson Foundation which has awarded more than 35 college scholarships for graduates of Lower Richland High School. Alex English is a 1972 graduate of Dreher High School. English played basketball at Dreher and at the University of South Carolina and he is the Gamecocks’ second all-time scorer. He was drafted into the NBA in the second round to the Milwaukee Bucks and spent one year with the Indiana Pacers, but most of his career was with the Denver Nuggets. He retired from the NBA as the league’s seventh-leading scorer, and he is enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. After his retirement, English was named the first director of player programs for the National Basketball Players Association. He currently travels around the world as an ambassador for the NBA, and he has garnered attention for his successful philanthropic and business endeavors. Dr. Deborah D. Hazzard is a 1986 graduate of Lower Richland High School. Hazzard is the associate dean of diversity and inclusion and a clinical associate professor at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business. She is the first African-American academic professional in a leadership role in the Moore School’s 100-year history. Through her position, Hazzard championed an effort that led to the creation of the Dominion Energy Power Forward Program, an innovative pipeline program between the Moore School and high school students in Richland School Districts One and Two. The program, which formally launched in September 2021, includes career mentoring and informational sessions, field studies and networking events. Henry C. Young is a native of Chester, South Carolina. Young began his 32-year tenure as an educator in Richland One in 1969 as a teacher, and he went on to serve the district in many capacities, including as a coach, administrative assistant, assistant principal and principal. He was principal of C.A. Johnson High School for 12 years and helped to coin the phrase “Hornet Pride.” He also was the first African-American principal at Virginia Pack Elementary School and at St. Andrews Middle School. His many contributions include helping to bring calm during the period following the desegregation of schools. Young continues his service to education as the special education coordinator for FACES (Foreign Academic and Cultural Exchange Services). The Richland One Hall of Fame Induction Gala will be held Saturday, February 12, 2022 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The red carpet reception will begin at 5:00 p.m. and the program/dinner will begin at 6:00 p.m. Additional details about the gala, including ticket information, will be announced later.

    Five years ago, the inaugural class of students enrolled in Richland One’s Language Immersion Program at Carver-Lyon Elementary SchoolThe program began in August 2016, offering Spanish and Chinese to pre-K and kindergarteners. Those initial 31 students have progressed in the program each year and are fifth-graders now. The district is exploring expanding the program to the middle school level. Sharlene Kennedy, Carver-Lyon Elementary School parent teacher organization (PTO) president, said she is eager for the district to decide concerning the expansion because the program has been most beneficial to her fifth-grader and inaugural student Geordyn Duckett. “She loves it, and she can speak it,” said Kennedy. “I feel like if she can learn another language in her younger years, that’s something that she can use when she gets older.” This year, there are 317 pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students in the program, which added French during the 2020-2021 school year. Students are taught in English for half of the instructional day and in one of the other languages for the other half of the day. The program has attracted teachers from 12 different countries, further enhancing the experience, according to Erika Barboza-Ayala, Richland One’s language immersion lead teacher. “The community sees the diversity of our school as a plus, and they appreciate their students learning languages from native speakers,” she said. Students in the language immersion program have an understanding of culture that extends beyond just language. It’s as if the students arrive in worlds all their own each day based on their language of choice – Chinese, French or Spanish. One hall is dedicated to those who aspire to speak Chinese, one is for those who desire to speak French and another is for those learning Spanish. The walls are adorned with cultural themes of countries where the languages are spoken including the national flags and maps. Barboza-Ayala said she hopes the students retain what they’ve learned for their daily lives. “I want the students to use the language to get familiar with the concept and communicate it to other people not in the program,” she said. “Students experience learning content subjects as well as social language and literacy skills in a foreign language, which means that it becomes a tool for students to communicate, learn and have fun.” The 31 students who were in the inaugural class are bilingual, biliterate and bicultural, learning to read, write, speak and understand two languages, and gain an appreciation for other cultures, said Barboza-Ayala. In an ever-increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, she said students who experience language immersion are better prepared to compete and succeed in the global economy. “It also opens the door to understanding other cultures, and it has the potential to make communication more meaningful and rich and improve academic performance,” said Barboza-Ayala. “By choosing language immersion, you will be giving your student more tools to succeed in the future.”

    The Richland County Association of Educational Office Professionals (RCAEOP) recently named two outstanding Richland One employees as the organization’s 2021-2022 Office Professional of the Year and Administrator of the YearBrian Weston, executive assistant in the Office of the Executive Directors of Schools, was named RCAEOP’s Office Professional of the Year. Weston has worked in Richland One for 28 years and five years in his current position. He serves as president of RCAEOP and as parliamentarian of the National Association of Educational Office Professionals (NAEOP). Southeast Middle School Principal Inger Ferguson was named RCAEOP’s Administrator of the Year. Ferguson, former principal at Pine Grove Elementary School and a former assistant principal at Brennen Elementary School, has worked in Richland One for 23 years. She is in her sixth year as principal at Southeast. Weston and Ferguson advance to compete for the state-level honors from the South Carolina Association of Educational Office Professionals (SCAEOP).

    Annie Burnside Elementary School third-grader George Napoleon Thomas Martin, Jr., made his television debut in the 2021 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Christmas commercial, “Why are Nathan’s SO GOOD?” The eight-year-old is the premier actor in the 30-second advertisement and is portraying the role of a nephew at the dinner table who is distracted by the taste of Nathan’s famous franks. The commercial is part of the company’s iconic Get Along Famously campaign, a series of vignette-type ads showcasing how the taste of Nathan’s Famous 100% beef franks can bring people together and produce genuine moments of connectivity. Martin’s mother, Lawanda Champaign, credits his two sisters, who are studying as models at DeAbreu Modeling Consulting, LLC, for his interest in acting. “The girls would come home and practice their commercials and when I would correct them, he would say, ‘Girls, do it like this,’” said Champaign. “He just did an excellent job and a light bulb went off.” She credits agency owner, Ericka DeAbreu with connecting them to the right people for the audition opportunity. Champaign admits that without DeAbreu’s connections, she would never have found the audition that fit her son perfectly. “She knows everybody in the industry, and she is the person that has all these connections,” said Champaign. “I wouldn’t know about any of this, if it wasn’t for her.” After the children’s father died on Dec. 26 of last year, Champaign sought a way to keep them busy. “I just had to find a way to channel their energies so I put them in sports. I put them in modeling,” said Champaign. “I didn’t want them to start slipping in school, so I did anything to keep their mind off the grief.” Champaign’s strategy appears to have worked because they are looking forward to Martin auditioning for other roles in the near future. When asked about the commercial, Martin couldn’t get over the taste, saying, “The food was good.” The commercial is already airing on television and can be found on YouTube.

    Lower Richland High School’s Athletics Department and Alumni Foundation will retire the #53 basketball jersey of Stanley Roberts, a 1988 graduate who became a National Basketball Association (NBA) standout. The ceremony will be held on Dec. 17 during the half-time of the Lower Richland vs. Brookland-Cayce High School boys basketball game, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Roberts will attend the ceremony. “Stanley Roberts, along with his team, brought big-time basketball to the Columbia area,” said Bob Matz, Richland One’s athletics director. “He was a great individual who worked hard and brought pride to the Lower Richland community.” While at Lower Richland, Roberts led his team to two straight state championships, was named an All-American his senior year and was ranked among the top five high school basketball players nationally. He played basketball in Spain before becoming a first-round 1991 NBA draft pick. He played the position of center for nine international and NBA teams. Roberts also was a center on Louisiana State University’s basketball team alongside NBA great Shaquille O’Neal. Proceeds from the game will benefit the Stanley Roberts Athletics Scholarship. Tickets for the game can be purchased at lrathletics.org. A reception will be held following the game. 

    Jamie L. Devine, a member of the Richland One Board of School Commissioners, was installed as president of the South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA) during the association’s annual Delegate Assembly held Saturday, December 4 in Charleston. The association’s annual business meeting, which was held as part of the association’s Legislative Advocacy Conference, included voting delegates from most of the state’s 77 school boards. In addition to the election of association officers, delegates adopted resolutions to guide the association during the 2022 legislative session and approved proposed changes to the SCSBA Constitution and Bylaws. Devine was elected to the Richland One Board in 2008. He has been a member of the SCSBA board since 2012, serving as Region 8 Director, Secretary, Secretary/Treasurer and President-elect. He has achieved Level 6 in the SCSBA Boardmanship Institute Program and will be recognized for this accomplishment during the 2022 SCSBA Annual Convention. In addition to his school board responsibilities, Devine is the president of Community Assistance Provider, a non-profit focused on providing safe and affordable housing and economic opportunities for low- to moderate-income individuals and families throughout 15 South Carolina counties. Devine serves on numerous boards, commissions and civic organizations in addition to the Richland One and SCSBA boards, including the Indian Waters Council (Boy Scouts of America) and the North Columbia Business Association (NCBA). Devine is a member of the 100 Black Men of Greater Columbia, Inc. He is also a 2003 graduate of Leadership Columbia and is a member of the 2007 “20 under 40” class presented by The State newspaper.  His contributions to his community are further expressed through his work with his church, Brookland Baptist Church, and his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi. He is married to the former Tameika Isaac, and they reside in downtown Columbia. They have two daughters and one son. Devine follows Cheryl Burgess as SCSBA president. Burgess moves into the immediate past-president seat. In addition to Devine, other officers and regional directors elected to lead the association on the board of directors are as follows: President-elect, Gail Hughes, Dorchester School District Two; Secretary/Treasurer, Michele Branning, Fort Mill Schools; Region 1 Director, Patricia Simmons, Colleton County School District; Region 4 Director, Janet Graham, Horry County Schools; Region 5 Director, Ervin Richardson, Florence 5 School District; Region 9 Director, Anne Marie Green, Lexington One; and Region 13 Director, Robin Owens, Rock Hill Schools. The South Carolina School Boards Association is a non-profit organization serving as a source of information and as a statewide voice for boards governing the state’s 77 school districts.

    Southeast Middle School Principal Inger Ferguson has been named Educational Administrator of the Year by the South Carolina Association of Educational Office Professionals (SCAEOP). Ferguson advanced to compete for the state-level honor after being named Administrator of the Year by the organization’s Richland County chapter. “I am humbled and thankful for this recognition,” Ferguson said. “My daily goal is to have positive impact on the lives of students, parents, and faculty and staff members. Everyone matters and I’m never too busy to stop and listen to a concern or share a word of encouragement with others.” Criteria used to judge candidates for the award include their support of educational office professionals and their experience and achievements in the educational field. Candidates also must have worked as educational administrators for at least five years. Ferguson, who is in her sixth year as principal at Southeast Middle, has worked in Richland One for 23 years. She previously served as principal at Pine Grove Elementary School and as an assistant principal in Brennen Elementary School.

    W.J. Keenan High School freshman Takiyah Abernathy is among 11 middle and high school students who received the distinction of Carolina Master Scholar from UofSC for the successful completion of three Adventure Series courses. She is part of the 18th Carolina Master Scholars Adventure Series graduating class, comprised of 6th-12th graders. She earned this designation for her work in the summer academic program, where she completed Vex Robotics in 2018; Computer Gaming in 2019; and Introduction to Mechanical Engineering in 2021. “It’s a really high honor to know that I’m a graduate of the program,” said Abernathy, who said she was offered the opportunity to apply because of her grades in elementary school. Abernathy said when her teachers noticed her interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, they thought she might benefit from the summer courses. “My actual future career is a STEM job because I want to be a mechanical engineer,” said Abernathy. “As a kid, I always liked building robots and taking things apart to see how they work. I’ll be doing that but on a larger scale.” To be eligible for admission into the Carolina Master Scholars Adventure Series program, students must complete an application and submit a report card or transcript. Those who participated in Duke TIP Talent Search are automatically accepted into the program. Students are given the option of commuting or staying on campus to attend. There is a fee for attendance. The Adventure Series was named “best program” by the University Continuing Education Association and “best program” by the South Carolina Association for Higher Continuing Education.

    A series of events leading to the graduation of Columbia High School’s (CHS) Air Force JROTC (AFJROTC) Cadet Jiquais Jackson from the school’s Cyber Academy has enhanced the Richland One narrative, said CHS’s AFJROTC Senior Aerospace Science Instructor Major Ray C. Hammond, Jr. The program’s existence and Jackson’s efforts have resulted in a visit from South Carolina’s Gov. Henry McMaster and State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. Most recently, Jackson is being considered for an internship with Coding Rooms, a venture-backed EdTech start-up whose aim is to be the go-to platform for computer science and programming for teachers and students. The CHS junior was one of approximately 100 cadets across the nation selected for the virtual AFJROTC Cyber Academy this past summer, the second year of its existence. As culmination of the six-week course, Jackson received four college credit hours from Vermont’s Norwich University and earned a testing voucher for an industry information technology (IT) certification. “We are providing our students great learning opportunities to better prepare them to attend college or for great IT and cybersecurity careers in the workforce or the military,” Hammond said. During the course, Jackson, who is also a track star and a state wrestling champion, learned about cyber operations, coding, programming and infrastructure. “We learned about the various malwares and different types of viruses and how to prevent them from happening,” said Jackson. “If something is wrong, we learned how to fix it.” The National Science Foundation sponsored the pilot that has informed the advancement of a scalable model for computer science and cybersecurity education that eventually will be deployed across the nation’s JROTC programs. CHS was among the initial cohort of 30 schools representing 16 states. The school’s AFJROTC initiative has received capacity-building guidance and professional development for instructors, in addition to internship, mentoring and scholarship opportunities for the students. The value of the scholarship Jackson received is estimated at $8,000. “The Cyber Academy is designed to generate interest in a vital and valuable skillset that is lacking in our country, and we want to both identify untapped aptitude and reward cadets who have taken the first steps to develop these skills,” said Hammond. The deadline for cadets to register for this summer’s academy is March 15.

    Two Richland One orchestra students are the only from South Carolina among 122 nationwide to be selected for the National Association for Music Education (NafMe) All-National Honor Symphony Orchestra. They will participate in the ensemble program virtually Jan. 22-24. At the event, Dreher High School sophomore Samuel Schatz and A.C. Flora High School junior Juliet Swaim will rehearse and attend workshops led by renowned clinicians and create a final, recorded performance to be featured online during the 37th annual observance of Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM). The students earned this distinction based on their participation in the All-State Orchestra the previous year. Schatz is a violinist in the Dreher Orchestra and has been a first violinist with the South Carolina Music Educators Association (SCMEA) Midlands Region Orchestra. He is also a member of the South Carolina Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Schatz is a student of a professor of violin with the UofSC School of Music and maintains a rigorous academic schedule including advanced science, history, foreign language and athletics. Swaim earned second chair on first violin at the SCMEA Midlands Region Orchestra as well as All-State Orchestra. She began playing the violin in second grade at Suzuki Academy of Columbia. As a freshman, Swaim earned first chair in the Richland One District Honor Orchestra. She performs with her church and the South Carolina Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

    Half of the students selected for the 2021-2022 South Carolina Music Educators Association’s (SCMEA) All-State Guitar Ensemble are from Richland One. The six Richland One students – Sean Adams, Shane Keup, Wyatt Merland, Ellie Spicer, Bradley Wilkinson and Rion Williams of Dreher High School – were chosen for the highly regarded distinction after submitting a video audition last November. The All-State Selection Committee was comprised of guitar professors from across the state. The All-State Guitar Ensemble will be featured in a video production by the Virtual Guitar Orchestra and Augustine Strings and headline the South Carolina State Guitar Festival in May, formerly SCMEA’s Guitarfest. Additionally, at the festival, students will learn from clinicians and attend master classes and rehearsals for their performance.

    Two more Richland One teachers have earned the gold standard of the profession – National Board Certification. Dionne Boyd of Annie Burnside Elementary School and Kathleen Pennyway of Dreher High School join 203 others in the district as National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs). Created for teachers by teachers, the certification is the public assurance of the most impactful teaching outcomes. Those who receive the distinction complete and pass a computer-based assessment and complete three portfolio components: Differentiation in Instruction; Teaching Practice and Learning Environment; and Effective and Reflective Practitioner. The certification is designed to incentivize the educational enhancement efforts of teachers in hopes of developing and retaining them. In addition to the two newest NBCTs, 26 Richland One teachers either renewed their certification for the next 10 years or earned the National Board’s Maintenance of Certification, which is a five-year extension from their current certificate’s expiration date. Both ensure teachers are current on the knowledge and best practices in their certificate areas.

    NEWLY CERTIFIED

    Teacher

    Certification Area

    School

    Dionne Boyd

    Literacy: Reading – Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood

    Annie Burnside Elementary School

    Kathleen Pennyway

    Career and Technical Education /Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood

    Dreher High School

    RENEWALS AND MAINTENANCE OF CERTIFICATE

    Heather Abney Thomas

    Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood

    Greenview Elementary School

    Blessing Ajoku

    Career and Technical Education /Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood

    Heyward Career and Technology Center

    LaAveria Newton Barnes

    Generalist/Early Childhood

    Hopkins Elementary School

    Phoebe Blalock

    Generalist/Early Childhood

    Brockman Elementary School

    Randall Clamp

    Art/Early and Middle Childhood

    A.C. Moore Elementary School

    Ayesha Collins

    Generalist/Early Childhood

    Bradley Elementary School

    Jessica Cypress

    Generalist/Early Childhood

    Brennen Elementary School

    Bernadette Darby

    School Counseling/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood

    Lower Richland High School

    Angela Eadon

    Generalist/Early Childhood

    Hopkins Elementary School

    Pierre Fome

    World Languages/Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood

    Columbia High School

    Kimberly Fulton Douglas

    Generalist/Early Childhood

    Horrell Hill Elementary School

    Sarah Gawler

    Generalist/Early Childhood

    Brennen Elementary School

    John Heider

    Social Studies-History/Adolescence through Young Adulthood

    A.C. Flora High School

    Shameka Huff

    Literacy: Reading – Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood

    South Kilbourne Elementary School

    Ilona Maria Lawless Sunday

    Science/Early Adolescence

    Dreher High School

    Monica Palome Lagarda

    World Languages/Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood

    A.C. Flora High School

    Ashley Rhyne

    Generalist/Early Childhood

    Brennen Elementary School

    Jennifer Robinson

    Generalist/Early Childhood

    Hopkins Elementary School

    Elizabeth Ross

    Mathematics/Early Adolescence

    A.C. Flora High School

    Langhorne Stinnette Stevens

    Generalist/Early Childhood

    Brennen Elementary School

    Johanna Strickland

    Health Education /Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood

    Dreher High School

    Thomas Sunday

    Science/Early Adolescence and Young Adulthood

    A.C. Flora High School

    Padma Thumma

    Mathematics/ Early Adolescence Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood

    Alcorn Middle School

    Delores Weaver

    Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood

    Columbia High School

    Davenna Williams

    Generalist/Early Childhood

    Sandel Elementary School

    Terri Wood

    Generalist/Early Childhood

    Burton-Pack Elementary School

     

    Seven Richland One students have been selected for the South Carolina Music Educators Association’s (SCMEA) All-State OrchestraThe 6th-8th Grade All-State Orchestra consists of Hand Middle School’s Kaden Lim (5th Chair Violin 1) and Tarun Bulusu (17th Chair Violin 2). The 9th-10th Grade All-State Orchestra consists of Dreher High School’s Samuel Schatz (17th Chair Violin 1), Sarah Bobertz (2nd Alternate Cello) and Daniel Rose (8th Chair Bass). The 11th-12th Grade All-State Orchestra consists of A.C. Flora High School’s Juliet Swaim (4th Chair Violin 1) and Dreher High School’s Katherine Tam (20th Chair Violin 2). The students were selected based on their Jan. 8 audition. The All-State Orchestra is scheduled to perform on Sunday, Feb. 27 in Spartanburg.