News

Fellows program created to give insight into Florence One classrooms

on Monday, 17 August 2015. Posted in News

BY MELISSA ROLLINS Morning News This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Published August 16, 2015

FLORENCE, S.C. — Florence School District One, The School Foundation and the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce have partnered to start a Fellows in Education Program.

The program, whose first class will have orientation in mid-September, will give local leaders in business and the community a firsthand understanding of education in Florence One. After orientation, the group will meet once a month for nine months.
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Debbie Hyler, executive director of The School Foundation, said she has seen the success of the fellows program at McLeod Health and wanted to implement one within Florence One.  "I am familiar with that program because my husband is a McLeod physician," Hyler said. "I thought for a long time that it would be great to have a similar program for education. My children are well out of school, in their twenties, almost thirties; today's classroom is just so different than it used to be with all of the technology that is being used and the project based learning and different things like that."

Mike Miller, president of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce, said he feels the program is a natural extension of the work the chamber does, a connection that has perhaps gone unrecognized before.  "There were a few different categories that we should have been involved in before and one of those was education," Miller said. "We have looked for opportunities to do that and we found opportunities to partner with strong organizations in town because of course what we wanted were successful programs."

Miller said people not directly involved with children may not have seen the changes made since they themselves were students.  "The students who are in school today are the same people that are going to be in the workforce in a few years," Miller said. "It is a responsibility of the community to know what's going on in our schools and participate and be interactive. I think it is a logical thing to do, to bring people back into the schools who may have not had the opportunity in the last few years because maybe they have students already out of school and out of the home."

He said everyone in the community has a stake in local education even if they don't realize it.  "It is important to keep the community, not just the business community but all of the community, involved in what's happening and this is a good way to do it," Miller said. "Frankly, it touches them every day. Whether you are going shopping at the mall or buying insurance, or going to the carwash, you are interacting with someone, somewhere that was educated in our system."

Hyler said that by working with The School Foundation she has gotten insight into the classroom that she hopes the fellows will see as well.  "I know how much I, personally, enjoy going into the classrooms when we go and visit classrooms where we have given grants from The School Foundation," Hyler said. "This to me is a wonderful opportunity for other people who don't have children in the district to be able to go into the classrooms; it just makes you feel good to see what goes on in the classroom."

Randy Bridges, superintendent of Florence One, introduced the program to the board of trustees Thursday night.

"The mission of Fellows in Education is to select community leaders -- 20 is the number we have come up with for the first class -- to really take an in-depth look at what is going on in our school district," Bridges said. "At the same time, (we will be) building capacity within the community for our schools."  Bridges said he will be involved heavily in the orientation for the fellows, telling them from his perspective what is going on in the district. Fellows will also have a chance to work with some school administration.  "We have put a part in (the program) for them to choose, if they want to, to kind of be a principal for the day," Bridges said. "That means shadowing one of our administrators just to see what the life of a principal is like over the course of a day."

The program was an action item on the board agenda and it was approved, with slight reservation from board members Alexis Pipkins, Pat Gibson-Hye Moore and E.J. McIver over the selection process and the diversity of the fellows, though they had not seen a list of the inaugural group.

Hyler said that the program will touch all corners of the community and that the partners have worked to make sure that the fellows represent all areas of diversity.

Fellows will be introduced to every level of education in Florence One, including the International Baccalaureate Programs, early childhood education and the career center.

According to the mission statement,"Fellows in Education is designed to improve education for students by involving local leaders in the atmosphere and the experiences that our students share each day. The program seeks to create a community of leaders that can share first-hand knowledge and help collaborate with policy makers and the community on the educational concerns of the future."

For more information contact Debbie Hyler, Executive Director, The School Foundation, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; Michael Miller, president, Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; or Dr. Randy Bridges, superintendent, Florence School District One, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Ingram chosen as The School Foundation’s distinguished graduate

on Monday, 10 August 2015. Posted in News

Ingram chosen as The School Foundation’s distinguished graduate

Posted: Sunday, August 9, 2015 4:36 pm
BY SHAMIRA MCCRAY Morning News This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

FLORENCE, S.C. – Ben Ingram, the 2014 "Jeopardy!" Tournament of Champions winner, will be the 2015 distinguished graduate at The School Foundation's 14th annual celebration gala.

The gala highlights the life and career of a successful Florence School District 1 graduate.  "Each year we have a committee, and people around the community submit names to us all year long," said Debbie Hyler, the foundation's executive director. "This year it was timely being that Ben Ingram had just won the 2014 'Jeopardy!' Tournament of Champions."

Ingram graduated from Wilson High School and received higher education from Wofford College and the University of South Carolina. He now lives in Lake Wylie and works in Charlotte as an IT consultant.  In 2013, Ingram won $117,534 on "Jeopardy!," a longtime television game show. He competed against other top "Jeopardy!" winners in the Tournament of Champions in 2014. He won and walked away with $250,000.

Hyler said Ingram sets a great example.  "He has put to good use his math degrees, and he is working in the banking industry in Charlotte," Hyler said. "He was a great example of a young professional his entire school career. I think it's good for us to have a young distinguished graduate, a great representative for the entire Florence community."

To highlight Ingram's interest in trivia, the three District 1 high schools' academic challenge teams will participate in a trivia game during the gala.

The district's teachers of the year for each school, and the district's teacher of the year, also will be honored at the gala, which will be held at 5:30p.m. on Oct. 13.

The gala will be held at the Florence-Darlington Technical College's Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology Center. Tickets start at $75 for district educators and $100 for individuals. Reserved tables of eight are $1,000 for bronze sponsorship, $2,500 for silver sponsorship, $5,000 for gold sponsorship and $10,000 for platinum sponsorship. A VIP reception will be held for contributors of $2,500 or more.  Tickets can be purchased by calling Hyler at 843-662-9996 or sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Tickets also can be purchased at www.theschoolfoundation.org.

WANT TO GO?
>> WHAT: The School Foundation's 14th annual celebration gala.

>> WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Oct. 13

>> WHERE: Florence-Darlington Technical College's Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology Center.

>> TICKETS: $75 for district educators, $100 for individuals. Reserved tables of eight are $1,000 for bronze sponsorship, $2,500 for silver sponsorship, $5,000 for gold sponsorship and $10,000 for platinum sponsorship. A VIP reception will be held for contributors of $2,500 or more.

>> TO PURCHASE: calling 843-662-9996 or sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Tickets also can be purchased at www.theschoolfoundation.org.

School Foundation awards Florence One grants for 2015-2016 school year

on Tuesday, 19 May 2015. Posted in News

BY NICOLE CARTRETTE MORNING NEWS This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Published May 19, 2015

FLORENCE, S.C. – Eight schools and Poynor Adult Education Center walked away from The School Foundation grant reception Monday night at the Drs. Bruce & Lee Foundation Library with more than $129,000 in grant money.

The School Foundation funded seven grants for the 2015-2016 school year that impact schools in Florence School District 1.  The foundation’s grants committee considered 16 requests that totaled more than $341,700.

“We were very excited by the number of applications received and the tremendous time, effort and research the teachers spent to compile these grant applications” said Trisha Caulder, chairwoman of The School Foundation Grants Committee.

“I am thrilled that we have now awarded over $1 million in grants to FSD1 teachers. This is a tremendous milestone for public education in Florence,” said Debbie Hyler, executive director for the foundation. “The majority of the equipment and technology funded by our major grants over the last 10 years is still being used in classrooms. We are so grateful to have strong financial support from the Florence community.”

A big winner in the major grants division was STEMED (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics in Elementary School), which will benefit students at Briggs, Carver and Greenwood Elementary schools.  Under the proposal by principals Susan Collins, Tara Newton and Chris Rogers, the three schools “will lead the way” in piloting the Project Lead the Way Launch curricula in Florence 1.  The schools will be among some 6,500 schools across the country to participate in Project Lead the Way programs.

The nonprofit is the nation’s leading provider of K-12 STEM programs and cites university studies that suggest students who participate in their programs are three to four times more likely to study engineering, among other factors.  The Florence 1 program is meant to give students experience working in teams to investigate issues, conduct research and answer complex questions, preparing them to use precise science terminology and critical thinking.

A second major grant funded in the amount of $41,665 was the Transition-to-High School through Writing, which will benefit West Florence High School students and will provide 30 laptops for the Freshman Success Academy.  Co-project directors are Lance Butler, Ron Harter and Maureen Shuler. The proposal calls for increasing accessibility to technology, building relationships with higher education institutions, exposing students to positive role models for writing and collaborating with middle school English teachers.

Five requests for mini-grants (up to $500) were funded for the upcoming school year.

Genevieve Boston’s LEGO Write project at $416 at Delmae Elementary paves the way for students to create story scenes with LEGO bricks then use Story Visualizer to write a story using the images they created.

Susan Lane’s Ride and Read project at $500 gets students at John W. Moore Middle School moving by providing three stationery bikes in the media center for students to use while reading.

Shellia Daniels Anderson’s PAWSitive (Providing Awesome and Wonderful Skills) at $500 is an incentive-based program that aims to improve reading and writing among students in learning disabilities support classes. Students earn a free book after passing certain placement tests.

Adult learners at Poynor Adult Education center benefit from a $500 grant for Helping Our People Excel.  "This is for the students that want more," said Til Morisey, director of Poynor Adult Education center.  Ann Stone came up with the idea of a Lunch and Learn program that the funds will help support.  "We like to connect with our students and form relationships and we thought this would be kind of a cool way to do that."  In recent years Poynor received a large grant from The School Foundation that provided iPads and a smart board among other technology still in use.  “We love The School Foundation," said Morisey.  

Kirsten Washington’s Language Learning –Easy and Engaging at $422 will benefit students at Williams Middle School.

The School Foundation remains the largest K-12 public education endowment in the State of South Carolina.  For more information about the foundation contact Hyler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at (843) 662-9996.

For additional information on Project Lead the Way Launch, visit https://www.pltw.org/our-programs/pltw-launch.

Education Superintendent looks to Florence 1 for early education ideas

on Tuesday, 05 May 2015. Posted in News

Posted: Monday, May 4, 2015 7:29 pm

BY NICOLE CARTRETTE Morning News This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

FLORENCE, S.C. –In her first official trip to schools in Florence School District 1 Monday, State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, got a closer look at early childhood education programs that she would like to see implemented in other school districts around the state.  Spearman’s visit included a stop at Alfred Rush Academy’s Montessori classrooms. At the R.N. Beck Early Childhood Education Center, she visited preschool classes and held roundtable discussions with district employees and school board members.  Spearman, who said Florence 1 is doing a great job in early childhood education, was impressed with what she saw in the classrooms.  “I keep thinking in my mind when I see all those children what would they be like coming to first grade or kindergarten without these programs. It makes a huge difference in their lives. You are catching them early,” Spearman said.  “It is the right thing to do but it also the best return on investment that you can make in education. You are not just doing it. You are doing it really, really well. You are using the right programs and I just appreciate your willingness to help others.”

Dr. Floyd Creech, director of the Office of School Readiness for Florence 1, said the early childhood program involves many different people.  “It’s not just the schools,” Creech said.

The district’s Start to Read Program seeks to improve early reading opportunities for children by partnering with businesses. Employees receive tips on reading with their children and free books for children three- years-old and younger through the workplace.

Jean Leatherman, wife of Sen. Hugh Leatherman who was speaking on the budget in the Senate on Monday, was one of several individuals who toured R.N. Beck with Spearman. Jean Leatherman participated in discussions about a need to make early childhood education centers structured like R.N. Beck easier to duplicate across the state.

Creech sought and received a waiver to utilize certain state funding to pay for center managers and curriculum coordinators.  Spearman said her office was paying close attention to such waiver requests and looking for ways to eliminate the need for them in some cases.  Porter Stewart, chairman of the Florence 1 school board, told Spearman that while many districts have needs greater than those of Florence 1, the district still has financial needs.  Many of the district’s early education initiatives are supported with local funds.

Spearman said she had wanted to come to Florence but that Sen. Leatherman had also extended an invitation more than once with hopes she would see the benefit of bringing early childhood programs like those in Florence 1 to other districts in the state.  “He called me twice,” Spearman said. “That’s why we are here –just to look and to learn.”  Spearman finished up her visit serving as guest speaker at the Florence Rotary Club meeting held at Victor’s Bistro in Florence where 150 or more were in attendance.  Spearman said the district, community and supporters are “concentrated on early education” and that she had seen “wonderful ideas”.  “Hats off to your county and your school district,” Spearman said.  “We don’t have to always be going outside of South Carolina to find good things happening that we need to replicate.”  Every child whether from “Florence, Lake City, Saluda, Greenwood or Charleston” should have opportunities in education that prepare them for the “next step.”

Spearman said for “too long” technical education has been overlooked as a viable education path.  Though manufacturing needs are great in the state, Spearman said, when surveyed, few high school students identify manufacturing as a career choice.  “We need to let our young people know this is a great career,” Spearman said.  She pointed out that smaller school districts need to work together to meet the needs of students without regard for district lines.  Spearman said a young man in her church is good with working with his hands and would excel in mechatronics.  “The problem in Saluda is, we don’t have a mechatronics program,” Spearman said of the district with roughly 2,400 students.  “They need the opportunities,” Spearman said.  Economic growth is tied to education, she said.  “If we can’t meet the needs of our workforce that growth will stop,” Spearman said.

She was questioned about the recent state Supreme Court ruling on inequity in education across the state. While the courts ruled that the state had failed to provide equitable education across the state in the 20 year old case, lawmakers are left to decide how to remedy the inequity.  Lawmakers in the senate and house have appointed taskforces to focus on the issue.  Spearman serves on a taskforce created by Rep. Jay Lucas.

“We are not working to negotiate with the schools but to develop a solution together,” Spearman said.  Teacher recruitment and retention, transportation and capital needs are among the issues the taskforce is hearing about.  The taskforce is to make recommendation to the legislature by Jan. 1, 2016.  “I’m just so dedicated to making sure this isn’t just a report but becomes a reality,” Spearman said.

Spearman, a native of Saluda County and former music teacher and principal, received a B.A. in Music Education from Lander College, holds a Masters of Arts in Education Supervision from George Washington University, and an Education Specialist Degree from the University of South Carolina. Spearman served four terms as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives representing Saluda County and portions of Lexington County (House District 39). In 1998, she became the Deputy Superintendent of Education for the South Carolina Department of Education.

The School Foundation receives $550 from Florence Golden K Kiwanis Club Foundation

on Tuesday, 05 May 2015. Posted in News

The School Foundation received a check for $550 on May 5th from the Florence Golden K Kiwanis Club Foundation.  The funds were earmarked to purchase books for their StartSMART program. 

Dancing With The Stars of Florence rocks SiMT, raises thousands for schools

on Wednesday, 01 April 2015. Posted in News

Posted: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 10:48 pm

FLORENCE, S.C. – “Dancing with the Stars of Florence” rocked the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology on Tuesday night with riveting performances from 12 celebrities and their professional dance partners, all in the name of raising funds for The School Foundation.

The competition came down to a three-way tie for the coveted judges’ technical skills award but Chris Warner of St. Jude Medical and professional dancer Meggie Baker wowed the audience with their Samba routine to “Treasure” in the dance-off.

Judges called the performance, which included Warner throwing himself to the floor for three repetitions of the “electric worm,” one that had real “crowd appeal.”

“It was my favorite of the night,” said Donna Protho, one of the three judges. The other judges were Robert Rodgers and Amanda Kinseth-Rodgers.

“I had a great time,” Warner said after the win. “My partner, Meggie, was awesome. She made me look great. When we got on stage I knew we had it in the bag.”

Warner said he was thankful he had been asked to participate. “What a great cause and I think they were the big winner tonight,” Warner said.

Warner and Baker edged out fierce competition from Susan Ninichuck of Roche Carolina and professional dancer Jovan Kindred and Robert Watkins of Johnson Controls and professional dancer Drew Arnold, who also preformed in the dance-off.

Watkins and Arnold’s salsa to Usher’s “Caught Up” was an attention-getter. Judges called it a “smooth” and “outstanding” performance.

All three dance duos earned perfect 10s from the judges in the main competition.

Ninichuck and Kindred racked up on special awards, winning the social stars, most entertaining and People’s Choice awards for their highly energetic jive to “Shake It Off.”

“I knew this would be a lot of fun,” said Ninichuck, stealing the spotlight with her spunky retro hairdo and colorful 1980s dress.

“Energy – you had it,” Kinseth-Rodgers said. “The facial expressions –it was so entertaining to watch.”

Ninichuck and Dr. Deepak Chowdhary had trailed Honda’s Michele Pridgen in People’s Choice votes by what seemed like a long shot most of the night. Just minutes before voting closed, Pridgen had 3,386.5 votes, Ninichuck 2,159 and Deepak 2,065.5. Each of those votes is worth $10 to the nonprofit Schools Foundation, which provides grants to Florence School District 1.

By the end of the night, Ninichuck’s online votes surpassed Pridgen’s and totaled 3,580 for $35,800 in donations to the School Foundation and put her in the lead for the People’s Choice Award.

Pridgen and professional dancer Jacob Coward with a jive to “All About that Bass” took second in the People’s Choice with 2,518.5 votes.

Chowdhary and professional dancer Brandi Williamson entertained the audience with their salsa routine to “Dilliwali Girlfriend.” The “Bollywood” influenced dance drew cheers from the audience and ultimately tons of new online votes. The duo took third in the People’s Choice award with 2,085.5 votes ($20,855 in donations.

Others in the celebrity lineup with performances Tuesday night were Mike Miller of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce and dancer Cheyanne Beck; Ashley Nance of King, Love & Smith Law Firm and dancer Desiree Stokes; Fields Norwood of Lawson Turf Farm and dancer Tiffany Welsh, Steve Wade of the Morning News and dancer Kayce Smith, Will King of W. Lee Flowers and Co. and dancer Amanda Smith, Cedrick Kennedy of Florence School District 1 and Shandi Cox and Rick Ryan of NBSC and dancer Georgeanna Kelley.

The sold-out event, which included a buffet, drew as many as 800 guests and raised more than $187,180 from voting alone.

Dancing With the Stars of Florence: Meet Celebrity Steve Wade

on Saturday, 28 March 2015. Posted in News

Melissa Rollins
Morning News
Published March 26, 2015

What is your previous dance experience?

I changed high schools when I was a sophomore. I still very clearly remember going to my new high school and going to a group dance and literally getting laughed out of the gym. I have taken a little bit of swing, just to try to get familiar, but this is way outside of my comfort zone. I was in band; that is the extent of my performance experience.

Do you have a go-to move, at wedding, parties, etc.?

My go-to move at a wedding would be guarding the punch bowl and clinging to the back door. It is just not my thing.

How was the first practice? Was it easier or harder than you expected?

The first practice was about what I expected. Bernadine (Kelley) is just so good. She asked some questions and was pretty good at tailoring the dance to what our experience levels were. I don’t believe anybody got put in over their heads.

Best piece of advice your partner has given you so far?

My partner, Kayce Smith, teaches dance in Cheraw for the studio (Kelley’s Fine Arts) so she has been very patient. She’s let me ask questions. We got the initial footwork down pretty quickly and she has been very good helping me with some of the details, like working with my hands, which will make the dance a lot better. As we’re practicing, if I’m not doing something, she’ll nudge me.

Why were you interested in taking part in Dancing with the Stars of Florence?

I don’t think anybody says ‘no’ to Debbie (Hyler, executive director of The School Foundation); if anyone has, I’d like to meet them. Really, we are doing this for the kids. If the kids weren’t involved in this, I don’t think most of us would be doing this; I wouldn’t be doing this. When you see the passion behind what they do at The School Foundation and you realize what they do, that’s why you do it. If I can make a fool of myself on stage and raise a couple of extra bucks, then oh well.

How does it feel to be the ‘celebrity’ in your pairing?

I laugh at that. Kayce will tease me about it every once in a while. If we have a decision to make, and the costumes were one of them, she’ll just say ‘You’re the star, this is on you.’ During introductions, we have a two 8-count intro and we haven’t touched that yet. I asked her what we were going to do and she said ‘That’s on you, you have to figure that one out,’ so I have to choreograph that.

What is your job title and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?

I am the publisher for the Morning News. Day-to-day responsibilities for me are primarily administration. We are fortunate to run a media organization that covers the Pee Dee. We think we do a good job of covering local news and local sports. My job is handling the business side of that.

Stephen Wade and his partner Kayce Smith are dancing a jive to “Blame it on the Boogie.”

Watkins, Arnold added hip hop to salsa dance for DWTSF

on Wednesday, 25 March 2015. Posted in News

The News Journal
Brenda Harrison, Editor
Published March 24, 2015

Celebrity dancer Robert Watkins and professional dancer Drew Arnold have infused their salsa dance with a little hip hop for Dancing With The Stars of Florence on Tuesday, March 31. They'll be fast-stepping to "Caught Up," by Usher. Watkins is no stranger to the stage. He has performed in talent shows and events during his college years and is excited to participate in Dancing With The Stars of Florence. After seeing the dance competition last year, Robert said he knew "this is something I really want to do."

Watkins is Formation Manufacturing Area Manager at Johnson Controls. He is married to Teara and step-father to Brendon Tye. His hobbies are exercise and fitness. Drew has been dancing and competing in jazz, tap, and hip hop since the fifth grade. She is a fourth-grade teacher at McLaurin Elementary where she shares her love of dance at McLaurin in her newly formed dance club. She also is a dancer for the Pee Dee Vipers and a Zumba instructor at the Florence Family YMCA. Drew has high praises for her dance partner. "He is confident and doing very well. I was surprised at how fast he caught on," Drew commented, adding, "It's a really cool routine."

Completing this year's line up of dancers are Ashley Nance and Desiree Stokes; Fields Norwood and Tiffany Welsh; Dr. Deepak Chowdhary and Brandi Williamson; Will King and Amanda Smith; Dr. Susan Ninichuck and Jovan Kindred; Michael Miller and Cheyanne Beck; Chris Warner and Meggie Baker; Michele Pridgen and Jacob Coward; Cedrick Kennedy and Shandi Cox; Rick Ryan and Georgie Kelley; and Stephen Wade and Kayce Smith. A panel of judges will name one couple "Technical Skills Winner" based on the contestants' overall skills. A couple will also be chosen as "Most Entertaining" by the judges.

The "People's Choice" mirror ball trophies will be awarded to the three couples raising the most votes. The Social Stars trophy, a new addition this year, will be awarded to the couple receiving the most online votes. Fans may vote online for Drew Arnold and Robert Watkins or other couples, at www.FlorenceDancingWithTheStars.com for $10 per vote. You can follow the dancers' progress on Facebook at Dancing With The Stars of Florence. The event is sold out, but there is a waiting list. To learn more about The School Foundation, visit their website at www.theschoolfoundation. org.

Wade-Smith dance team preparing to jive

on Wednesday, 18 March 2015. Posted in News

Brenda Harrison, Editor
The News Journal
March 18, 2015


Celebrity dancer Stephen Wade and professional dancer Kayce Smith are getting ready for the upcoming Dancing With The Stars of Florence event on March 31. They will perform a jive routine to "Blame It On the Boogie," by The Jacksons.

Wade admits his dance experience is "none." As publisher of The Morning News, he doesn't have much time for dancing and his thoughts about appearing on the DWTSF stage could be described as "sheer terror." However, he is doing this for the kids, he said, praising the efforts of The School Foundation.

"I've worked on foundations and I think The School Foundation is phenomenal. A lot of kids will benefit from me making a fool of myself on stage," he quipped.

Wade added that he is having a lot of fun learning to jive and his partner Kayce has been fantastic.

This will be Kayce Smith's first time with DWTSF. She is also dancing with a similar event in Cheraw prior to this event. Kayce studied dance for 14 years and teaches with KFA in Cheraw. She resides in Darlington where she also is a waitress at the Mayflower Seafood Restaurant. Kayce, age 20 attends the Professional Medical Training Center studying to be an EKG technician. Her sister Amanda Smith is another professional dancer in DWTSF.

Kayce said Stephen is easy to work with and a quick learner.

Noting that DWTSF is very competitive event, Stephen added that he and Kayce are pumped and going for the win. Completing this year's line up of dancers are Robert Watkins and Drew Arnold; Ashley Nance and Desiree Stokes; Fields Norwood and Tiffany Welsh; Dr. Deepak Chowdhary and Brandi Williamson; Will King and Amanda Smith; Dr. Susan Ninichuck and Jovan Kindred; Michael Miller and Cheyanne Beck; Chris Warner and Meggie Baker, Michele Pridgen and Jacob Coward; Cedrick Kennedy and Shandi Cox; and Rick Ryan and Georgie Kelley.

A panel of judges will name one couple "Technical Skills Winner" based on the contestants' overall skills. A couple will also be chosen as "Most Entertaining" by the judges. The "People's Choice" mirror ball trophies will be awarded to the three couples raising the most votes. The Social Stars trophy, a new addition this year, will be awarded to the couple receiving the most online votes. Fans may vote online for Steve Wade and Kayce Smith at www.FlorenceDancingWithTheStars.com for $10 per vote. Follow the dancers' progress on Facebook at Dancing With The Stars of Florence.

Dancing With The Stars of Florence: Meet Celebrity Cedrick Kennedy

on Tuesday, 17 March 2015. Posted in News

NICOLE CARTRETTE
Morning News
Posted: Thursday, March 12, 2015 8:00 pm

What is your previous dance experience?
I don't have any dance experience –just weddings and I danced in college. That's the extent of my dance experience.

Do you have a go-to move, at wedding, parties, etc.?
The same old two-step. You step side-to-side and rock and snap your fingers.

How was the first practice? Was it easier or harder than you expected?
I actually thought it would be a lot harder to learn a dance routine but we found out the key to learning is repetition. If I keep doing the same thing over and over again I won't have to think -- I can just do.

Best piece of advice your partner has given you so far?
Just relax, look over the dance moves during the week and keep practicing.

Why were you interested in taking part in Dancing with the Stars of Florence/What do you think of The School Foundation's mission?
I want to start with the School Foundations mission. It's a great mission and I am really excited to take part in this event. It's for kids. It's for schools. It's a neat idea. The School Foundation is a great help to Florence School District One. Actually, I got a call from Neal Vincent, the director of secondary education. I was at lunch duty and came in and answered the call. He asked me if I would be willing to do it and I told him anything that would benefit this district I'd be willing to do.

How does it feel to be the 'celebrity' in your pairing?
I don't know about being a celebrity but it's a lot of fun and any way that I can represent this district in a positive way I am willing to do.

What is your job title and your day-to-day responsibilities?
I am assistant principal at South Florence High School. The life and responsibility of a principal –where can I start? I guess I can make it simple. The most important part of my job is the safety and well - being of our students, instructional supervision and seeing that initiatives and programs are put in place to help our students be more successful.

Cedrick Kennedy and his partner Shandi Cox will perform to "Let's Hear it for the Boy."

Florence's School Foundation honored as Champion for Education

on Friday, 13 March 2015. Posted in News

Posted: Thursday, March 12, 2015 10:06 pm
By NICOLE CARTRETTE Morning This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Florence, S.C. --The School Foundation has long been a champion in the eyes of Florence School District 1 officials, but Thursday night the nonprofit organization officially became a champion in the eyes of the South Carolina School Boards Association.

The foundation earned the state association's Champion for Public Education award earlier this year but was officially recognized on Thursday during the school board's meeting.

Robert Gantt, S.C. School Board Association president and member of the District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties School Board, presented the prestigious award to representatives from the foundation.  Florence 1 officials nominated the Schools Foundation for its work in supporting public education in the district.

The award goes to community residents, organizations or local businesses/industries whose contributions to public education have significantly benefited the entire school district or public schools statewide.

"The School Foundation's Board of Directors consists of a diverse group of businesspeople, civic leaders, and educators," the nomination reads. "Their role is a constant, never-ending task born from the heart and intellect of citizens who make the education of each student a top priority."

Jean Leatherman of the School Foundation said the organization was "glad to partner" with the district. "It is always wonderful to be recognized for the work you have done," Leatherman said. She commented that much had been done but the work was not finished yet.  "We have only just begun," Leatherman said.

To receive the S.C. School Board Association award, recipients must, among other things, show leadership in support of ongoing or special programs authorized by the school board, demonstrate, through actions, pride for the school district and effectively work for the betterment of the schools in the district as a whole or for public schools statewide.

"The School Foundation is to be commended for his invaluable support, service and leadership to the students in Florence County School District One," said Paul Krohne executive director for the state association. "The organization models the support and care that we want for every school in our state."

The School Foundation became the largest education foundation in the state in 2006 with an endowment exceeding $1.4 million. Since the organization's inception it has awarded nearly $1 million in grants to Florence 1.
The organization's highly popular fundraiser, Dancing with the Stars of Florence, is scheduled for March 31 at the Southern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology. The event is sold out but votes for this year's celebrities can be made at florencedancingwiththestars.com.

South Florence assistant principal to dance 'for the kids'

on Wednesday, 04 March 2015. Posted in News

Brenda Harrison, Editor
The News Journal
Published 3/3/2015

Cedrick Kennedy and Shandi Cox are working on their "jive" for the upcoming Dancing With The Stars of Florence event on March 31. The pair will dance to "Let's Hear It For the Boys." Cedrick is an assistant principal at South Florence High School. He is a 2000 graduate of Wilson High and graduate of S.C. State University. When asked to participate in this annual School Foundation event, he agreed without hesitation because he knows first hand what the School Foundation does for Florence School District One. "It's a neat idea and a great fund raiser. I'll do anything for the kids," he said. Cedrick is not a trained dancer, but enjoys "cutting the rug" at social events. He has been working out to prepare for his dance routine.

Shandi is a trained dancer and has been teaching dance for 16 years. The petite mother of five children has danced in three of these events, but sat out last year because she was pregnant. Her youngest is now six months old. Her twin sister Brandi Williamson also participates as a professional. Completing this year's line up of dancers are Robert Watkins and Drew Arnold; Ashley Nance and Desiree Stokes; Fields Norwood and Tiffany Welsh; Dr. Deepak Chowdhary and Brandi Williamson; Steve Wade and Kayce Smith; Will King and Amanda Smith; Dr. Susan Ninichuck and Jovan Kindred; Michael Miller and Cheyanne Beck; Rick Ryan and Georgeanna Kelley, Chris Warner and Meggie Baker, and Michele Pridgen and Jacob Coward.

A panel of judges will name one couple "Technical Skills Winner" based on the contestants' overall skills. A couple will also be chosen as "Most Entertaining" by the judges. The "People's Choice" mirror ball trophies will be awarded to the three couples raising the most votes. The Social Stars trophy, a new addition this year, will be awarded to the couple receiving the most online votes. Fans may vote online for Cedrick Kennedy and Shandi Cox or other couples, at www.FlorenceDancingWithTheStars.com for $10 per vote. You can follow the dancers' progress on Facebook at Dancing With The Stars of Florence. The event is sold out, but there is a waiting list. To learn more about The School Foundation, go onlline to www.theschoolfoundation.org

http://www.florencenewsjournal.com/images/cleardot.gif

 

 
   

March 4, 2015


 

3/3/2015 12:09:00 PM
South Florence assistant principal to dance 'for the kids'

 

CEDRICK KENNEDY AND SHANDI COX REHEARING FOR DWTSF

+ click to enlarge

CEDRICK KENNEDY AND SHANDI COX REHEARING FOR DWTSF

 

Brenda Harrison
Editor

Cedrick Kennedy and Shandi Cox are working on their “jive” for the upcoming Dancing With The Stars of Florence event on March 31. The pair will dance to “Let’s Hear It For the Boys.” Cedrick is an assistant principal at South Florence High School. He is a 2000 graduate of Wilson High and graduate of S.C. State University. When asked to participate in this annual School Foundation event, he agreed without hesitation because he knows first hand what the School Foundation does for Florence School District One. “It’s a neat idea and a great fund raiser. I’ll do anything for the kids,” he said. Cedrick is not a trained dancer, but enjoys “cutting the rug” at social events. He has been working out to prepare for his dance routine.

Shandi is a trained dancer and has been teaching dance for 16 years. The petite mother of five children has danced in three of these events, but sat out last year because she was pregnant. Her youngest is now six months old. Her twin sister Brandi Williamson also participates as a professional. Completing this year’s line up of dancers are Robert Watkins and Drew Arnold; Ashley Nance and Desiree Stokes; Fields Norwood and Tiffany Welsh; Dr. Deepak Chowdhary and Brandi Williamson; Steve Wade and Kayce Smith; Will King and Amanda Smith; Dr. Susan Ninichuck and Jovan Kindred; Michael Miller and Cheyanne Beck; Rick Ryan and Georgeanna Kelley, Chris Warner and Meggie Baker, and Michele Pridgen and Jacob Coward.

A panel of judges will name one couple “Technical Skills Winner” based on the contestants’ overall skills. A couple will also be chosen as “Most Entertaining” by the judges. The “People’s Choice” mirror ball trophies will be awarded to the three couples raising the most votes. The Social Stars trophy, a new addition this year, will be awarded to the couple receiving the most online votes. Fans may vote online for Cedrick Kennedy and Shandi Cox or other couples, at www.FlorenceDancingWithTheStars.com for $10 per vote. You can follow the dancers’ progress on Facebook at Dancing With The Stars of Florence. The event is sold out, but there is a waiting list. To learn more about The School Foundation, go onlline to www.theschoolfoundation.org

 

 

 

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