School briefs for May 24th-30th

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School evacuated due to smoke scare

Students and staff at Beaufort Elementary were evacuated briefly Monday, May 21, while firefighters investigated reports of smoke inside the building. The evacuation lasted less than an hour, and the smoke was traced to a burned-out motor on an air conditioning unit.

Families for exchange students wanted

International Cultural Exchange Services (ICES) has added Christine Iacino as a new local coordinator.

Iacino is currently looking for families that would like to host an international exchange student for the 2018-19 school year. Exchange students live as a member of the host family — not a guest or boarder. They participate in family activities, follow host family rules, and help with chores. Students have their own medical insurance and spending money to cover all personal expenses, while host families provide room and board and loving parental guidance. 

As the local coordinator, Iacino is available to answer questions, give advice, and provide general support to students and host families throughout the experience. For more information about hosting or working with ICES, please contact Christine Iacino at 860-480-3895 or

BA announces staffing changes

Beaufort Academy announced last week that eight staff members will leave the school at the end of the school year. BA’s department heads will work with headmaster Dr. Dan Durbin to fill the positions vacated by the following: 

  • Mrs. Cathryn Griffith, the Preschool Director, who has been in the BA family for more than 10 years will be retiring this school year.
  • Mrs. Judi Babalis, Pre-K4 lead teacher, has taught at BA for more than 12 years and will be retiring from teaching this school year.
  • Mrs. Jackie Bauer, Pre-K3 lead teacher, will retire after this school year. 
  • Mrs. Janette Danielson, Preschool and Lower School Art Teacher, has been with BA for more than 20 years, and is retiring this school year.
  • Ms. Patty Cline, Administrative Assistant on and off for 10 years, will be hanging up her BA cap this school year.
  • Mrs. Mary Trask, Director of College Advising, will leave BA and plans on returning to school after seven years of guiding the school’s seniors.
  • Mrs. Karen Edmonds, who teaches middle school and upper school science and is also the Science Department Chair, will retire this school year after 22 years at BA.
  • Mrs. Betsy Rhatigan, upper school English teacher, has been in the BA family for 10 years and will retire this school year.

Local students win top photography awards

Each year, the Photography Club of Beaufort encourages all local high school and home-schooled students to submit their best nature photograph in a competition created to honor the memory of Dale Westcott.  

More than 50 black and white and color photographs were submitted, then judged by club members and guest Atlanta photographer John Mariana. Awards were presented May 14 by Barbara Westcott. The award is given in memory of her late husband, who was an educator and avid nature photographer. 

“Sunset on the May River,” by Bluffton High School sophomore Grayson Short, took home top honors in the Dale Westcott Nature Photography Contest. Ribbons and monetary prizes were also presented to the following students: Bluffton High junior Evan King took second place for “Weathered Artifacts,”  third place was awarded to Battery Creek High School sophomore Ashley Guillot for “Untitled,” Bluffton High senior Alexis Vazquez received honorable mention for “Dock Sunset,” and Battery Creek senior Alaynee Gonzalez received honorable mention for “Winter Wonderland.” 

“The quality of images produced by our local teenagers gets better and better each year,” the club said in a release. 

The Photography Club of Beaufort meets the second Monday each month at 7 p.m. The next meeting will be held at the Technical College of the Lowcountry, Building 6, Room 108. The meetings are free and the public is invited to attend. For additional information please visit the club website at

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