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Seniors reflect

Posted: May 15, 2013 9:04 a.m.
Updated: May 20, 2013 5:00 a.m.

I meet with a lot of groups and committees over the course of the year, and I think it’s important for me to do so. One of my favorite groups is Student Cabinet, which is comprised of student government leaders from each of our high schools. We meet four times a year over lunch. What I love and value about students is that they don’t hesitate to tell you what’s on their minds, but they’re also very open to hearing other points of view. Meeting with these students always makes me feel very confident about the future.

It’s become a sort of tradition that at the last meeting of the year, I ask the senior members of the group to talk about their favorite school memories and their favorite teachers. The students who will be graduating in a couple of weeks started school in the fall of 2000. When I think about a senior class, I always try to think about how life has changed since these kids walked into school as kindergartners. In the fall of 2000, gas was $1.26 per gallon, a postage stamp cost 33 cents, and we had survived all the panic about Y2K (remember that?). Cell phones were just phones; you had to use a computer to access the Internet or send email. Amazon was still just a river, and 9/11 and all the changes it caused to our society was still a year away. It was obviously a very different world. However, the memories the students shared with me transcend the changes in the world and reflect what makes being an educator such a special and important calling.

JaVaris Crim from Camden High School will be attending the University of South Carolina in the fall. His favorite memory was competing with Lugoff-Elgin High School to raise funds for the United Way during the week leading up to the yearly Camden versus Lugoff-Elgin rivalry football game. (The two schools together raised more than $25,000 this school year, the most ever.) JaVaris identified his fifth grade teacher at Lugoff Elementary, Ms. Jackie Norton (now assistant principal at Camden Elementary), as his favorite teacher. He talked about how Ms. Norton cooked breakfast for the class and recognized students as “Homework Kings” and “Homework Queens” for having their homework all week. JaVaris greatly values that Ms. Norton always used a positive approach to motivate students.

Katie Tiller, also from Camden High School, will be attending Clemson University. Her favorite memory is the time in Dr. Janet Williams’ English class when Dr. Williams and a former student who was visiting had a mock sword fight. (Sorry I missed that one!) Katie described Mr. Stephen Sutusky as her favorite teacher because of how he has helped her both as a student in his class and as a coach to become the person she wants to be.

Jay Williams from North Central High School will be attending USC Sumter. Jay’s favorite memory is the first year he worked with Special Olympics. One of the young participants “latched on” and had Jay go from event to event with him. Jay’s identified North Central High social studies teacher Michael Grigsby as his favorite teacher because Mr. Grigsby didn’t let him “slide by” and expected students to work hard and give their best effort.

Josh Ross, also from North Central, will be attending Marion Military Institute. His favorite memories are working with Special Olympics and teaching in grades K-5 at Mt. Pisgah Elementary School through the Teacher Cadet program. His favorite teacher is Ms. Chelsea Sutusky, who taught Josh in both English and the Teacher Cadet class. Josh talked about how Ms. Sutusky’s energy, enthusiasm and passion for teaching motivated and inspired him to do his best.

Ashley Martin from Lugoff-Elgin High School will be attending Clemson University. Her favorite memory is the United Way competition before the Lugoff-Elgin/Camden football game and how much this generated spirit and energy within the L-EHS student body. She talked about L-EHS teachers David Caldwell and Marc Dyer as her favorites because of how both had challenged her academically and taught her to be more organized.

Chris Gibson, also from Lugoff-Elgin High School, will be attending the Citadel in the fall. His favorite memories revolve around being a member of the spirit “Paint Crew.” (He said it was especially interesting to do this on a cold night.) He identified sports medicine teacher Anna Harvley and social studies teacher Marc Dyer as his favorite teachers. He marvels at Ms. Harvley’s knowledge about her content area and her ability to teach it and said that because of Ms. Harvley, he is leaning towards a career in the medical field. He said that Mr. Dyer has a way of teaching things so that students really understand and think.

These young people are going to accomplish great things in whatever they choose to pursue! What they shared about their favorite teachers and their school years reflect the excellence of the professionals that work with the students in our school 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 frank.morgan@kcsdschools.net. 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 www.kershaw.k12.sc.us.

 

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