Lunch Bunch (without the bunch) at Beaufort Academy

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Recently, I had the pleasureof attending a luncheon at Beaufort Academy,coordinated by Bethany Byrne, directorof development and enrollment. As analternative to my regular Lunch Bunchcolumn, I decided to write about the  luncheon and Beaufort Academy’s invitation to local leaders in the community…

Catered by City Java, the luncheon was attended by leaders in economic development in the Beaufort area,including the Chamber of Commerce,Penn Center, USCB, TCL, KazoobieKazoos, United Way of the Lowcountry,303 Associates, Beaufort MemorialHospital, BJWSA, The BeaufortGazette, BJHCHS, the city of Beaufort,the Town of Port Royal, SCE&G, theLowcountry Economic Network, and,of course, The Island News.This was the second in a series of four luncheons with intent to inform more people in town about Beaufort Academy and to gain valuable feedback from the community.The first, catered by Berry Island,included area realtors. Two additional luncheons in May will focus on the military community and additional realtors and community leaders.The lunches are funded by generous supporters, and the idea was initiated by BA alumni, local business owner, and BA development committee member,William Trask. Under the lead of BA board member and DevelopmentCommittee Chair Chilton Simmons,the luncheons have been a success. They fit in perfectly with part of BA’s new strategic plan, presented by the board of directors, to be more community focused.Dr. Randy Wall said, “These lunches are a much needed opportunity for us to tell the community who we are and about our focus and vision. We are very grateful to our guests who are giving up their lunch time to come visit with us.Our goal at Beaufort Academy is to not only make sure we can guarantee each student go to the college of their choice,but also be successful at that level. We value athletics and arts and, among other
things, the leadership opportunities they provide, but our primary focus is academic college preparation.”“BA’s low teacher/ student ratio enables its teachers and administration to know each child as an individual and enables them to focus on the whole child. The small school atmosphere also fosters lifelong friendships that provide roots in an increasingly transient business climate and world.These roots are grounded in BA’s corevalues of excellence in intellect, respect,integrity, leadership, and (school) pride,”remarked Chilton Simmons.During the luncheon, communitylearned more about the following topics:• College acceptance by BA’s students.All of the school’s graduates are acceptedinto four-year colleges and universities,and they are attending schools both inSouth Carolina and all over the country.• With some 30%-35% of studentsreceiving some portion of financialassistance, assistance awards are basedon need. The awards given are part of
the annual operating budget of BeaufortAcademy.• Through continuing reaccreditation,the school is being continually evaluatedto keeps its top-notch standards andteaching up to date.• BA graduates average higher SAT/ACT scores than both local and nationalaverages. There is also a full-time collegeadvisor for its students. BA averagesabout 80-100 students in grades 9-12.• The Learning Center is open tothe community, whether or not youattend Beaufort Academy. It is intendedto serve college-bound students withdiagnosed learning differences. Theschool is currently hosting an SAT PrepCourse, and the school hopes to addmore programs like this soon.I was humbled and honored to havebeen asked to attend one of theseluncheons and congratulate BeaufortAcademy for its forward thinkinginitiative in today’s times.I was among respected membersof Beaufort’s diverse leadership, and Ithoroughly enjoyed the conversation.Thank you Dr. Wall and Bethany Byrnefor the invitation.