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KCSD Christmas memories

Posted: December 16, 2011 2:35 p.m.
Updated: December 19, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Last year at this time, my column was about my own favorite school Christmas memories. Apparently, folks actually read it, because a number of people I encountered during the holidays last year shared their own with me. So this year, I asked staff and community members to share a favorite Christmas memory in the Kershaw County schools with me. Following are ones I received that I especially enjoyed:

Camden Middle School Principal Jeff Jordan shared, “My fondest memories are about teachers during the holiday season and what they do for the needy students they teach. I’ve been in the business for 29 years and have seen teachers spend their own money to make sure that those less fortunate than they have a memorable Christmas.” 

Camden Middle School Holly Myers, who works with special needs students, remembers, “One of the nicest memories that I have at CMS is when my students paired with peer mentors and went Christmas caroling through the neighborhood at our new school. We had several people come out to hear us sing. The students and peer mentors practiced the songs for two weeks before we went caroling and even learned to ‘sing’ ‘Silent Night’ in sign language! After we completed caroling, we came back to enjoy Christmas treats and hot cocoa with our friends. We also went caroling along the halls of CMS … we were well received by all!”

Doby’s Mill music teacher (and KCSD Teacher of the Year) Helen Walker recalls, “Before I began our performing school chorus and recorder consort, we collaboratively worked with grade levels to produce a grand scale stage production. I vividly recall one year having more than 100 penguins marching down the hall for ‘A Penguin Christmas.’ What a fun reminiscence!”

North Central Activities Director Louis Clyburn, a Camden High graduate, recounted how the 1989-90 Camden High basketball team (which included future NFL star Bobby Ingram) could not play in the championship game of a Christmas tournament in Hilton Head because 6 to 8 inches of snow suddenly and unexpectedly fell in Hilton Head. Mr. Clyburn did say that basketball coach Guy Eckenroth was able to use the situation to tutor the team in the finer points of snowman building. Ironically, when the team got back to Camden, it had only rained here. 

Tammie Johnson, a teacher at Lugoff-Elgin Middle School, wrote, “I remember being in first grade at Lugoff Elementary (the first year it was built). When we came in from recess, our mothers surprised us by having our desks decorated. On each desk was a small bottle of Coke and piles of candy, cupcakes and holiday crafts for us to work on. One of my favorite memories!”

Longtime Kershaw County educator Rosemary Russell passed on this memory:

 “My most treasured memory is that of an unselfish couple who contacted me when I was Director of Middle and High Schools. They asked me to select 12 needy students and their families so they could have a memorable Christmas.

My first action was to contact the guidance counselors in all of our elementary schools. I knew that they would know the neediest families in their schools. I then asked several counselors to meet with the couple (who elected to remain unknown) and me at Walmart on a specified date and time to do the shopping.

This precious couple was there to greet us. Their instructions were to get every child a requested toy, some articles of clothing and a coat or jacket for each. In addition, the dear lady went around the store gathering candy for all of our children. After all, Christmas wasn't Christmas without candy and fruit. What a beautiful sight those Walmart buggies were! What a generous gift to our children! All the couple asked in return was for us to take pictures of the children opening their gifts. We assured them that pictures would be theirs.

The beaming eyes, the children's excited faces, and the relief in the parents' voices could never be duplicated! It was absolutely heartwarming for the District Office staff who had wrapped all of these gifts and for the guidance counselors and me who had shopped for these much needed items! We had already experienced our own personal Christmas by simply being an integral part of giving our time to others and experiencing the joys of someone else's kindness, not to mention the thrill that followed when the children's faces radiated appreciation for the the couple who had been so generous.

This became a yearly activity for many years until the gentleman, David Parker, passed away. His loving helpmate, Ann Parker, still resides in Camden. Mr. and Mrs. David Parker made a difference in the lives of so many children in the Kershaw County School District, yet they did it quietly and lovingly with no recognition. I salute this fine couple, and say ‘thank you,’ for your strong character and total unselfishness as witnessed by so many. You taught many of us what is really important at this special time of year -- Christmas.”

I certainly can’t top that story … but it’s what this season is all about.

I’m always pleased to talk with community members about our schools. My direct dial phone number is 425-8916 and my email is Citizens can contact me through the “Ask the Super” link on the homepage of the district Website. I also invite folks to read my “blog” and listen to the podcast I record after each school board meeting with meeting highlights. Both of these, and a whole lot more, can be accessed at


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