Faculty from Lugoff-Elgin High School (L-EHS), some current and many retired, gathered together at Hall’s Restaurant in Lugoff recently to celebrate their 14th annual faculty reunion. Restaurant owner Linda Hall was, at one time, manager of the L-EHS cafeteria, making the location very significant.
Liz Simon, former L-EHS journalism teacher, helped organize the event and said she had never heard of another school that held such a tradition as this.
“There are all-school reunions, class reunions, family reunions, but not a faculty that comes together as ours has,” Simon said. “Usually we have over 30 attendees.”
The reunion is an event looked forward to by faculty alumni all year long. This year’s theme: a Hawaiian luau, with tables decorated with bright flowers and seashells.
L-EHS Principal Tommy Gladden spoke at the reunion and began by asking each person present to write down the three best things about L-EHS on a note card. These positive qualities were narrowed down to the top quality and Gladden then asked for volunteers to read what they’d written down: the quality of the teacher/student relationship; the faculty and staff; the way the administration supports the teachers; the growth of the school (Gladden pointed out that L-EHS is now a 4A school); and the band program and ROTC classes.
Gladden discussed his own experience with the band program at L-EHS and why he believes it is so special.
“People drive through our community everyday and look at our school and decide whether they want to move to an area based on the schools,” Gladden said. “I’m excited that our school is growing … when I was at Ridgeview High School, the principal said someone has to go on the bus with the band to Indianapolis … there were at least two students (from L-EHS) on that bus, too.”
He said L-EHS Band Director Glenn Price was on the bus, too, and that Price sat next to him, talking all about the school and its many positive attributes. He said the growing band program also brings families to the community.
“We’ve seen growth in our dance, drama and chorus programs. Our school has taken off in the performing arts. Glenn Price has done amazing things for our school. He took a strength already present and encouraged it to grow,” Gladden said.
Another aspect of his school Gladden praised is the role that Central Carolina Technical College (CCTC) has plays in preparing students for college.
“Students are leaving here with 18 to 30 hours of college credit,” Gladden said, adding that parents have been particularly pleased with the savings in tuition the opportunity generates.
Former L-EHS social studies teacher Chuck Bingham, who had not returned to L-EHS since moving away in 1984, attended the reunion and fondly reminisced about how the school only had two tennis courts when he was there.
“I was sad to see those courts are gone, but now there are six instead of two,” Bingham said.
The reunion continued with door prizes and other shared memories of days in the classroom at L-EHS.
In closing, Gladden talked about interviewing a prospective teacher that day, and how he had explained certain things about the school.
“We didn’t put the investment in the bricks and mortar, but in the technology and in the teachers we have. I believe that is what makes us so successful,” he said.
(For more pictures, see our Localife montage.)