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Senior recollections

Posted: May 18, 2012 9:45 a.m.
Updated: May 21, 2012 5:00 a.m.

I meet several times a year with the district’s Student Cabinet, a group comprised of student government leaders from all four grade levels at each of our high schools. This group gives me a valuable perspective that I can’t really get anywhere else. For example, the Student Cabinet was instrumental in the selection of new technology for our one-to-one computer program. It was actually pretty cool to watch. I asked the members of the Cabinet to come in and work with all the devices under consideration and give specific feedback. Their input was extremely insightful. This is a great group of young people, and I always look very forward to my meetings with them. 

It’s become my custom at the last Student Cabinet meeting of the year to ask the seniors to share their favorite school memories and talk about their favorite teachers. What they tell me is always interesting, perceptive, sometimes very funny and definitely worth sharing. 

Alexis Nelson from Camden High School identified her seventh-grade history instructor at Camden Middle School, Mabel Gill, as her favorite teacher. Alexis especially remembered how Ms. Gill would always say, “What in the ham sandwich are you doing?” and how she would have her students recite the poem “I am Somebody” every day. Alexis’ favorite memory was Camden High winning the “Caring Cup” this past fall in recognition of the money raised for the United Way during the week leading up to the Camden versus Lugoff-Elgin football game.  (As Student Body president, Alexis led this effort.)

Kemi Balogun, also from Camden High School, talked about Janet Williams, an English teacher at Camden High, and Michael Wolfe, a Biology teacher at Camden High, as her favorite teachers because of their ability to make students love their respective content areas. Kemi’s favorite memory was during her freshman year, when Camden High won the State 3A basketball championship.

Chris Turner of North Central High School identified Jennifer Pineau (now Tyree), his seventh-grade science teacher at North Central Middle School, and Jodi Kahler, his eighth-grade English teacher at North Central Middle School, as his favorite teachers. Chris remembered how Ms. Tyree helped him to excel in science in such a way that he received his first “Advanced” science grade on the PACT test that year. He recalled how Ms. Kahler helped him to love English and how she was always looking for new ways to make it more interesting.  Chris’s favorite memory was giving a speech at the recent Junior Leadership graduation. (He did a super job!)

Another North Central senior, Tyler Tollison, also talked about Jennifer Pineau (now Tyree) at North Central Middle School as one of his favorite teachers because he had previously hated science, but ultimately made an A in her class. He also talked about another North Central Middle School science teacher, Joseph Albright, highlighting Mr. Albright’s patience, passion for science and respect for each student as a unique and special individual. Tyler’s favorite memory was becoming best friends at North Central Middle with a student with whom he had previously not gotten along.

Alex Campbell of Lugoff-Elgin High School described L-EHS math teacher David Caldwell as his favorite teacher because of Mr. Caldwell’s ability to make calculus fun and relate it to the real world. Alex particularly enjoys a picture on Mr. Caldwell has of himself in his classroom from an earlier day when he had much longer hair.  (I think everyone who grew up in ‘60s and ‘70s has a picture like this.) As a favorite memory, Alex recalls being on an L-EHS cross-country team that made the state meet by edging out arch rival Camden High by one point.

David Jones of Lugoff-Elgin High School identified Jean Broome, his second-grade teacher at Blaney Elementary School, as his favorite teacher because she did cartwheels  (yes, cartwheels) when students did something well. His favorite memory was being removed from the Student Body President election at Stover when he criticized the school administration in his campaign speech on the morning news show by saying, “We should respect dictators.” (I suspect this didn’t seem as funny then as it might seem now….)

I’m definitely going to miss this group. They’re going to do great in whatever they choose to pursue! What they had to say about their favorite teachers reflects the excellence of the professionals who work with the young people in our district. 

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 also 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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