Education Impact: We celebrate our schools

By Sarah Ostergaard

For so many reasons, December is a time of reflection and celebration. As 2023 comes to a close, let us pause and thank school faculty, staff, and administration who love and grow our community’s children. Our schools are community hubs, collaborating with families in support of student success in and out of their classrooms. Connecting with families and the greater community is important, yet takes extra time and energy. Thank you so much to the educators who make such a difference in so many of our lives. They are appreciated. Because of them: 

The Harbison West Elementary School’s Run Hard group completed a 5K last week after diligently training for over 2 months. The PTO organized a successful Firefly Family Game Night, and everyone will enjoy dress-up days this week leading up to Winter Break. 

Fourth-grade students at Irmo Elementary School toured the State House and had an opportunity to speak with Governor McMaster. The school’s 5th grade chorus shined bright and performed for families, and the whole school has celebrated dress-up days leading up to Winter Break. 

Third-grade students at Leaphart Elementary School are immersed in a research project and spending time reading with their 1st-grade STEAM buddies. The school is creating a MakerSpace for creative collaboration among students. Two of the 5th grade classes planted a maple tree near the school’s Native Plants Garden. 

The Spelling Bee was a success at Nursery Road Elementary School. Students showed off their ceramic creations to families. NRES students performed center stage at school in Live Show Friday, and students on the Run Hard Team completed a 5K after working hard to train with their teacher team sponsors. 

Seven Oaks Elementary School 1st graders celebrated Kindness Week by writing and giving Kindness Grams to each other, and 4th graders honed critical thinking and discussion skills through a Socratic Seminar using primary source information. The school also will enjoy dress up days leading up to Winter Break.  

The Crossroads Intermediate School Strings Winter Holiday Concert was beautifully done, and 3 CRIS students performed at the District Choir Show. Students took their learning outside to the Butterfly Garden to gather real-time weather data for analysis and discussion. Students also learned about the water cycle. Meanwhile, in homeroom, students learned some tech tools to help organize their work. 

Students at Irmo Middle School donated 577 pairs of socks for senior citizens. The IMS Mock Trial team had another successful season; these are our future world leaders at work learning the art of geopolitical debate and discussion. School staff and PTO are planning a fun Winter Fest for students on December 15. And everyone is invited to view IMS student artwork at the Loveland Coffee Cafe now through December 16. 

Students at The Center Advanced Technical Studies continued the tradition of creating a display for the annual Holiday Lights on the River event at Saluda Shoals Park. This year’s display is a carousel scene that four programs at The Center collaborated to conceptualize, design, create, and light. And everyone is invited to The Center’s Holiday Tree Display on December 14th from 5-7pm. Each program will showcase a decorated tree during this festive school fundraiser. 

150+ people enjoyed the annual Goodwill Brunch at Irmo High School. The event is a collaboration between IHS and the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission, bringing together students in JROTC, Student Council, and the Arts with our local senior citizens to enjoy breakfast and student performances. 

Two educators receiving special recognition recently are Heather Reitenga and Peter Lauzon. Ms. Reitenga was named the 2023 Betty J. DeWitt Outstanding Educator from SC Farm Bureau for promoting agricultural literacy. She is the digital integration specialist at three LexRich5 elementary schools. Mr. Lauzon received the National Education Association Foundation’s award for Teaching Excellence. Mr. Lauzon has been a STEM educator in LexRich5 for 21+ years and currently teaches Biomedical Sciences at The Center. 

All the information above was found on school or district social media sites. Why not follow our local schools and learn more about their impact in our community?

Our schools’ staff and faculty work hard every day for our students. Thank you to all.

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