Sheldon residents, school supporters and Beaufort County officials celebrated last week as the athletic complex at Whale Branch Early College High School was formally dedicated in the name of veteran Board of Education member Earl Campbell.
The Beaufort County Board of Education voted last year to name the athletic complex for Campbell, who was a key leader in building support for the construction of the new school that graduated its first class of seniors last spring. “I thank God that I lived long enough to see it happen,” Campbell said after the board’s unanimous vote. “Not for me, but for the community.”
The dedication ceremonies attracted parents, students, community members, district officials and other school board members.
A Beaufort County native, Campbell began his education in a one-room schoolhouse on Hilton Head Island. Drafted into the Army at the age of 18, he served two tours in Vietnam as a combat medic and earned a Bronze star and a Combat Medical Badge.
After retiring from the Army with 20 years of service, Campbell returned to Beaufort with his wife and family and earned associate’s degrees in Business and Criminal Justice. He then began a second career at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.