Mr. FFA competition

SHS FFA MEMBER COMPETES IN MR. FFA COMPETITION - On February 28th, Saluda High School FFA member Quinten Miller was among thirty two young men competing in the annual Mr. FFA Scholarship Competition held at Pendleton High School.  The afternoon began for the boys with individual interviews, preparing for a surprise event, and practicing a dance routine. During the competition, the boys competed in official dress and casual wear divisions.  They also introduced themselves on stage and top ten contestants answered an agriculture related question in front of the audience. Quinten made it to top ten for the second year in a row. Quinten is Treasurer of the SHS FFA Chapter and is the son of Russell and Candice Miller.


Lander Alumna Molly Spearman Leads
S.C. Public Schools through Pandemic

  GREENWOOD, S.C. __ It was Sunday, March 15 and South Carolinians anxiously awaited a televised news conference by S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster concerning the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, which had recently been deemed as a global pandemic and was beginning to penetrate the state’s population.
  With the pandemic spreading throughout the United States, Molly Spearman, state superintendent of education for South Carolina, joined Gov. Henry McMaster and other Palmetto State leaders to announce that K-12 public schools would be closed through March 31. That order has since been expanded to keep schools closed through the month of April.
  “I first want to assure all the parents of school children in this state that we are still in a partnership, and the principals, superintendents and teachers are working as we speak,” she said.
  For the Lander community, this was a moment of great pride. Spearman, a 1976 Lander alumna and former music teacher and administrator, was at the helm of decision-making for the state’s public schools and the S.C. Department of Education during an unprecedented time in the history of S.C. education.
  As the nation began the adjustment to school and business closures and financial and social disruptions in the wake of an international crisis, the news conference revealed that Spearman actively was working with state and national officials to protect the health and well-being of the state’s schoolchildren, teachers and administrators while ensuring that instruction would continue.
  One of her major concerns was for the provision of meals to the state’s schoolchildren. By the time of the news conference, Spearman was working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide meals to children in need. She had received permission for students to receive grab-and-go lunches at designated community sites or via school buses for families who could not reach these locations.
  Communities, she said, would be able to “provide nutritious meals to students who may not have access to them outside the school day.”
  Spearman worked hastily with school districts to develop myriad plans, including class assignments that parents could implement at home for their children. Some 3,000 school buses with Wi-Fi capability were being deployed to remote areas lacking Wi-Fi access, she said, and 6,000 buses would deliver materials along bus routes.
  These were just a few of the monumental plans that had to be put in place in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis in the United States. While acknowledging that all were being called on to adapt to a new way of life, including the closing of schools and shifting education to the home, Spearman said, “We believe we have made the decision at the right time.”
  Dr. Sharon Wall, interim president of the John de la Howe School and a former Edgefield County school superintendent, said few people would have been as prepared as Spearman to lead the state’s public schools during this time of crisis.
  “She is doing a terrific job,” said Wall, former chair of the State Board of Education. “She sees the total picture – from the education side and from the governmental side. She is a former teacher and school administrator. She served four terms in the S.C. General Assembly as a member of the S.C. House of Representatives. Molly Spearman has experience as a leader in education and government.”
  Wall, who has worked closely with Spearman over the years in her own educational career, said the state leader “understands the heart of working families. She can’t fix what’s happening, but she can make sure that children aren’t missing meals and that instruction is going on as best it can. She is thoughtful in her decisions and gets input from all of those involved.”
  Since that first pandemic news conference, Spearman has continued to join the governor and give briefings to the media and public on the continuation of school closures and information on testing and graduations.
  “We are doing everything we possibly can to make this as smooth as possible,” she said.
  A mother and grandmother, Spearman earned a master’s degree in education supervision from George Washington University after earning her bachelor’s degree in music education at Lander. She also has an education specialist degree from the University of South Carolina.
  Spearman, a native of Saluda, grew up on a dairy farm and is a graduate of Hollywood High School. She became the Deputy Superintendent of Education for South Carolina in 1998 and was executive director of the S.C. Association of School Administrators from 2004 – 2014.
  In 2014, Spearman was elected the state’s Superintendent of Education and re-elected in 2018, a term that continues until January 2023.