School briefs for March 9th-15th

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Holy Trinity third-grader Michael Hernandez placed in the top 10 at the SCISA state spelling bee. His teacher, Paul Newman, attended the competition held in Kingstree.
Holy Trinity third-grader Michael Hernandez placed in the top 10 at the SCISA state spelling bee. His teacher, Paul Newman, attended the competition held in Kingstree.

Local student writers finalists in contest

Seventy-two high school juniors and seniors from across the state have been named finalists in the fourth South Carolina High School Writing Contest.

Local finalists include Natoria Smalls, Sarah Suber, Morgan Mayne-Alexander, Alexandra Batista and Jessica Elkins, all of Beaufort High School; and Amanda Taylor, of Battery Creek High School.

One of the presenting partners was the Pat Conroy Literacy Center. 

“We started in 2013 with 23 finalists, so we have grown remarkably,” said Steven Lynn, dean of the South Carolina Honors College and founder of the contest. “We are impressed with the quality and quantity of writing we’ve received.”

As in years before, the topic is “How can we make South Carolina better?” 

Students can respond in the genre of their choice — poetry, fiction, essay, drama, letter — in 750 words or less. The contest is open to juniors and seniors in public, private and home schools. Writings by the finalists will be included in an anthology published by the University of South Carolina Press.

The second round will be held March 17 at the University of South Carolina.

Bridges Prep hires first chief operational officer

Bridges Preparatory School hired Caroline Lovell as its first chief operational officer to help lead the state charter school as it grows in size and academic offerings.

Since 2004 Lovell has served as director of finance and human resources at United Way of the Lowcountry. She’s been involved at Bridges Prep since it started in 2013 and most recently served on the Board of Directors until resigning that position in February.

“There were 25 applicants for the position, but none of them brought the depth and breadth of experience that Caroline brings to Bridges,” Head of School Dr. Nick Ithomitis said. “She understands the challenges we have faced, the obstacles still in our path, and she brings a skill set to help us achieve success.”

Bridges Preparatory School was chartered by South Carolina in mid-2012 and opened at near capacity in August 2013. For the 2017-2018 school year, Bridges Prep will expand to tenth grade and in two years will be a full-service K-12 state charter school.

“I’m thrilled at the opportunity and humbled at being selected,” Lovell said. “Fortunately I am ready to start work on Day One because I’ve been involved in a lot of the work to get us where we are today.”

When she starts in mid-April, Lovell’s duties will include human resources, development and fundraising, financial oversight, and ensuring the fast-growing school continues to operate efficiently and effectively.

Lovell has a bachelor’s degree in institutional administration with a minor in business administration from Georgia Southern University.

Superintendent holding town hall meetings

Superintendent Jeff Moss is holding several town halls throughout Beaufort County, and there are two coming up in Northern Beaufort County.

The first will be at 6 p.m., April 19, at Beaufort High School; and the second will be at 6 p.m. at Battery Creek High School.

He has already held town hall meetings at Whale Branch Early College High School, Bluffton Middle, Bluffton High. There is also one scheduled at 6 p.m. March 30 at Hilton Head High.

Moss holds informal town hall meetings twice year with parents and citizens in each of the district’s “clusters” of schools.

“The discussions during our fall meetings were terrific, and the input from parents, community members and students was invaluable,” Moss said. “I’m really looking forward to reconnecting with parents and community members this spring.”

For Spanish-speaking parents, simultaneous translation devices will be available.