Elizbeth “Beth” Butler Paschos recently lived in Seoul, South Korea, and could live overseas again in the near future. David Schoolfield is the principal of McCormick Middle School in Greenwood County near the Georgia state line.
David and Beth are, respectively, members of the 1997 and 2001 Upchurch & Jowers All-County Academic teams. In a series of emails, David, a Camden High School (CHS) graduate, and Beth, a Lugoff-Elgin High School graduate, talked about being named to their respective teams, their lives since and what they’re doing now.
David said being named to the All-County Academic Team was an honor he did not take lightly.
“I was familiar with most of the other students from outside of Camden who were named to the team from Junior Leadership of Kershaw County, SEAGUL, Church and athletic activities,” David said. “I always enjoyed meeting with them, and was curious to see where they would ultimately end up after high school and beyond.”
He said he still communities and keep up with his former teammates through various forms of social media -- something he noted wasn’t around while they were growing up.
David said he knew before he even finished high school he would be seeking a career in education.
“I come from a line of educators, and math was always a passion of mine. It seemed natural to follow my father’s footsteps in becoming a math teacher myself,” he said, attributing part of his teaching style to current CHS Principal Dan Matthews, who was his calculus teacher then. “He and my dad have always been good friends from their days of teaching at the old Memorial Hall building on the old CHS site.”
David said even earlier, as a Camden Primary School student, he would walk after school to CHS to visit with both his father and Matthews as they wrapped up their teaching days.
“I had so many good teachers in Camden growing, that it would not be possible to name them all,” he said.
After earning his B.A. in Math from Presbyterian College, David began working at Bell Street Middle School in Clinton.
“While I enjoyed the high school, I felt as if middle school suited me more,” he said. “I enjoy working with that age student, doing my best to motivate them to a pathway of success.”
While teaching David said he did something a lot of single male teachers did: coached.
“I coached middle school girls basketball, and high school soccer,” David said, pointing out he was emulating his father with the latter sport.
Coaching took a back seat, however, once he starting spend time with the woman who would become his wife of almost 11 years, Kim.
“Because she is so heavily involved in the cheerleading coach (on the collegiate level), I quickly realized coaching had not totally left my blood. I continue to work with the cheerleading program at Lander University now with my wife,” he said.
Their son, Eli, was born in 2009 -- the same year David found himself named Laurens County District 56 Teacher of the Year. At that point, he knew it was time to go back to school. He graduated with a master’s degree in administration and supervision in 2010 and took a new job in a new district as an assistant principal. Two years later, he was named principal at McCormick Middle. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education while working at McCormick.
“Working with middle school (students) is one of my loves, but I have always had a desire to work at the university level helping to teach teachers,” David explained.
When former Kershaw County teacher Rebecca Stokes asked David recently for any words of wisdom for this year’s All-County Academic Team, he said, “Never stop being a student; never stop learning.” He also said, “Pick your career based on passion, not money.”
David also talked about what it’s like to teach middle and high school students and lead a middle school compared to his experiences as a student in Kershaw County.
“Students are students no matter where I have been across the state,” he said. “The problems may be a little different in one area than in another, but all educators are working diligently to produce the best citizens and life-long learners they possibly can.
“The schools I have worked in thus far are smaller than what I was used to do attending, but size is one of the few different that exists.”
David said he hopes the All-County Academic Team is a tradition which will continue for the community’s best and brightest students for years to come.
“It seems that athletics get a lot of recognition and deservedly so (I was on a couple of those teams as well), but putting academics as a priority is a huge deal in my book,” David said. “As a principal, I always look for opportunities to recognize high achieving academic stars, and a lot of that may be due in large part to what was done for me almost 20 years ago. Has it really been that long?”
The ‘military wife’
Beth lived in Seoul, South Korea, for several years with her husband, Michael, until October 2014. Michael Paschos is a U.S Army fixed wing pilot who currently flies C-12Us and C-12Js, and has flown Cessna 172s and Baron 58s. During flight school, Beth said, he flew helicopters, including the Bell 206, OH-58 A/C AND UH-60M. Michael was a Special Forces operator for seven years, has been in combat six times and received a Bronze star.
“Needless to say, I am very proud of him,” Beth said. “I came back to the states to give birth to our son and be closer to the family for the time being.”
The couple already has a daughter, Madison, who will be 3 in June; their son, Connor, was born in December.
“My husband is still in Korea and will be until (this) October … at which point, we will move to a location to be determined,” she said.
Beth called herself a “military wife,” but keeps busy herself not only as the mother of two young children, but as a “virtual recruiter,” freelance writer and blogger.
“Being a mom and an Army wife, I do not have a traditional career path,” Beth said. “I’ve been with Manpower (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) for the past three years, and with the birth of my son, I have decided to put full-time work on the backburner for now. I want to start my blog back up, as I took some time off from writing with the move back to the states and the pregnancy.”
She said she enjoys writing about her experiences as a mother, the Army lifestyle and added she would like to start writing more about career coaching, resume writing and recruiting. Beth graduated magna cum laude from Wofford University with a B.A. in English in 2005 and then earned an MBA from The Citadel in 2009.
While living in Korea, she worked on the side as a resume writer and wrote for a local website, “Korea Ye!” She’s previously written freelance articles for The Post & Courier and Wofford college newspaper.
Beth said explaining what living in Seoul is like is hard unless you’ve lived there yourself.
“From what I understand, much has changed since the U.S. Armed Forces have been around there,” she said. “Seoul is very modernized and has the feel of New York City. It is heavily populated -- around 11 million people -- and very busy!”
Just like anywhere else, Beth said Seoul has its pros and cons.
“One thing I loved about living in Seoul was the transportation. The subway system is very clean, efficient and cheap. There are always taxis available and most of the drivers understand English. Also, the people are very friendly and they love children. There are a lot of great places to take your kids to do fun things. Plus, you cannot beat Korean bulgogi and the Thai food is excellent there,” Beth said.
While waiting for Michael to return to the states, and finding out where they’ll land next, Beth is looking to get into some independent recruiting contract work.
“With my lifestyle, it is difficult to keep a Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 job, so I am being creative in what I do to earn money, keep my skills sharpened and remain relevant,” she said. “I really love writing and at one point in my life, I wanted to be a journalist. If you ever want a freelance writer, I’m in!”