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Giving Back

Dr. Frank Morgan

Posted: April 18, 2014 11:57 a.m.
Updated: April 21, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Recently, I was listening to a talk radio host railing about how public schools "no longer teach values." This issue seems to be a mantra of sorts for some folks in the media, many of whom I suspect haven’t been anywhere near a public school in years. As someone who is in public schools every day, I can’t for the life of me figure out what this view is based on. I know it’s not based on reality.

I strongly believe that a significant strength of our schools is a culture that encourages students to look beyond themselves to seek ways to give back to their community. I can’t think of a better way for our schools to teach, affirm and reinforce the values that are being emphasized at home, in church and in the greater community.

One example of which I am particularly proud is Camden High and Lugoff-Elgin High raising over $40,000 for the United Way as part of the week leading up to the big rivalry football game. Here are just a few of many other examples:

• Over the past five years, students at ATEC have collected over 4,000 jars of peanut butter for Christian Community Ministries.

• Baron DeKalb Elementary does fundraisers for Relay for Life, Jump Rope for Heart, St. Jude’s Math-A-Thon and the American Red Cross, in addition to canned food drives for Food for the Soul.

• Students at Bethune Elementary School and Mt. Pisgah Elementary School team up to raise money for the American Red Cross Million Penny Campaign.

• Through a program called "Service Quest," Blaney Elementary School students have donated to the Walter Crowe Animal Shelter and provided winter coats, gloves and shoes for needy children in the community.

• Camden Elementary School raised money for the United Way, Relay for Life and the American Red Cross Million Penny campaign. (Principal Carol Przybyla dressed up like a Camden High football player and Assistant Principal Jackie Norton dressed up like a Bulldog cheerleader when the school exceeded its United Way goal.)

• The Camden High School Tri-Hi-Y raised over $1,500 for the "Make a Wish" Foundation to grant the wish of a child in our community. The school’s "Bulldog Pearls" group made over 200 dresses out of pillowcases for young girls in Ghana.

• Camden Middle School students have collected over 1,000 pairs of jeans for the "Teens 4 Jeans" campaign in addition to collecting over 1,000 canned and dry food items for the United Way.

• The student body at Doby’s Mill Elementary School puts a lot of effort into the American Red Cross Million Penny Campaign. To encourage the participation of all the schools in the district and just to have a little fun, Principal Ginger Catoe makes one of her grandmother’s legendary pound cakes for the principal of the KCSD school collecting the most pennies!

• As part of its "Leader in Me" program, students at Jackson Elementary School visit nursing homes, collect canned food for a local food bank, prepare Easter bags for hospitalized children and clean up Hampton Park.

• Students at Lugoff Elementary School collect food for a local soup kitchen, teddy bears for a children’s hospital and items for the Walter Crowe Animal Shelter as well as participate in Jump Rope for Heart and the American Red Cross Million Penny Campaign.

• The student body at Lugoff-Elgin High School raises over $7,000 each year to help needy families during the Christmas season through its Holiday HOPES (Helping Other People Enjoy the Season) program.

• Sixth graders at Lugoff-Elgin Middle School visit local nursing homes to sing, read and interact with residents.

• At Midway Elementary School, students collected 900 cans of food and $300 to help needy families during the holiday season.

• At North Central High School, the softball and volleyball teams have raised a great deal of money for cancer research. In addition, the JROTC holds Turkey Shoots to raise money for Toys for Tots.

• Students at North Central Middle School raise money each year for Relay for Life, Hoops for Heart, Pennies for Leukemia Patients, the American Red Cross Million Penny Campaign, and the Math-A-Thon for St. Jude’s Hospital.

• The student body at Pine Tree Hill Elementary School raised over $2,800 for the United Way to help needy families during the Christmas season.

• Stover Middle students raise money to support the Walter Crowe Animal Shelter and collect food for the Community of Hope in Elgin.

• Every year at Wateree Elementary, students raise money for Relay for Life (almost $500 this year) with a "Slime War," where the staff member who gets the most votes in the form of contributions gets "slimed" on a Friday afternoon.

This is stuff that won’t show up on the state or federal report cards, but I believe with all my heart that teaching students to give back is as important as anything we do.

I’m always pleased to talk with community members about our schools. The district phone number is 432-8416 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 on our award-winning website, www.kershaw.k12.sc.us.

(Kershaw County School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan is a contributing columnist to the Chronicle-Independent, Camden, S.C.)

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