Several times during the nearly 15 years I’ve spent here at the Chronicle-Independent, I’ve had the privilege of covering the Upchurch & Jowers All-County Academic Team banquet, as I did a week ago tonight. As I continue to work on the education beat I took over a few months ago, I’m sure I’ll attend many more of these special events in the years to come.
I’ve also enjoyed writing about some previous All-County students during the past month or so and, rest assured, at least one or two more stories are still on the way.
On Friday’s front page, I wrote about the banquet, focusing on retired educator Rebecca Stokes’ look back at the Team’s first 10 years, Kershaw County School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan’s comments and comments by the prinicipals of the district’s three high school as well as by Upchurch & Jowers staff members.
One thing I was unable to include in Friday’s story were the some of the comments the 2015 All-County students made as they came up to be recognized. Allow me to rectify that now. I can’t include each student’s comments, but I thought the following were some of the more interesting -- whether witty or serious -- of the evening. Most are about their favorite teachers.
“I’m not going to bore you all with long speeches, but I would like to take a moment to acknowledge Mr. (Glenn) Price, my band director ... he taught me about being part of a team and taking leadership when it was necessary, being responsible, working hard and never giving up, even when you’ve been on that practice launching pad for five hours straight and feel like walking into the grass and falling over, right there.” --James Logan, Lugoff-Elgin High School (L-EHS).
“While I’m up here, I just wanted to take the chance to thank my parents. My father’s not here today because he’s babysitting my 6-year-old and 2-year-old sisters ... but I wanted to thank my mom, because without her, I wouldn’t even be in this spot right now and be the independent young woman I’m becoming each day.” --Caitlin Clark, North Central High School (NCHS).
“A couple of people I would like to shout out are, of course my mom -- she’s my only mom, so she’s been great. Another ... is Ms. (Nicole) Guerry. Those last minute recommendations for scholarships paid off, and I want to thank you. I love you. You came in for me.” --Zach Boykin, Camden High School (CHS).
“I would like to recognize Mr. Mark Dyer, my U.S. History teacher last year. He taught me and my class a lot of things -- how to think critically, how to reflect and how to use the lessons of history to look into the present.” --Zane Nayfeh, L-EHS.
“It’s an honor to be acknowledged next to my classmates -- they’re some of the most brightest, hard-working people I know.” --Katherine “Ann” Crosby, NCHS.
“One person I would like to point out is Steven Murphy. He was our athletic trainer two years ago, and I took Sports Medicine 1. I thought school was school and I liked all the subjects but I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but after taking that class I was like, OK, this is what I want to do, so I want to thank him for making athletic training fun.” --Maddison Flowers, CHS.
“I want to thank all the teachers that I’ve had ever since kindergarten. I can name every single one of them, but I won’t.” --Evelyn Watson, L-EHS.
“I’m especially thankful for ... Ms. Jill White who taught me just how important compassion and kindness is in all circumstances. She also taught me that positivity is such a great thing and it’s important to have it, whether you’re having a bad day or good day, because your smile can change the life of so many people around you.” --Erin Humprhies, NCHS.
“I’m going to be majoring in French, so, obviously, I would like to thank my French teacher; she put me on this path.... I would also like to thank my mom for being wonderful and supporting me because it’s kind of crazy aspiration and a lot of people say it’s weird that I want to major in French,” --Montana Hicks, CHS.
“I really just love life at North Central, here ... it really feels like home, partly because my mom taught me in the middle school and my aunt ... works in the office.” --William Mathis, NCHS.
“My favorite teacher is probably Ms. (Jacqueline) Timmons ... she just really pushed us as students especially when it comes to Spanish, of course, but just as a whole -- she made us better students for taking that class,” --Kelsey Williams.
“Yup, I’m going to Clemson for agriculture, because I want to be a farmer.” --Tyler Steele, NCHS.
As you can see these are some funny, charming, intelligent and compassionate young men and women. I think the future generation’s in good hands.