Rantin: A helping of thanks, with gravy

brantin@thestate.com (803) 771-8306March 5, 2014 

— Bojangles served up an extra helping of academic gratitude Wednesday afternoon along with its signature chicken and biscuits during a kickoff Teacher of the Year celebration in Lexington.

The Sunset Boulevard Drive restaurant in Lexington held the first of 13 statewide events planned in the coming weeks to honor more than 80 public school district teachers of the year. Bojangles recognized seven area teachers Wednesday as part of a continuing partnership with South Carolina Future Minds.

“We’re able to give back to you all for the countless hours that you have put in,” Bojangles representative Tony Birch told the gathering of teachers, who were joined by family members and other well-wishers.

Each of the teachers received books labeled with their names to be given to their respective schools.

“Being in a community that values and supports educators makes it worth what we do,” said Kimberly Freeman, the Lexington 1 Teacher of the Year from Lexington Middle School and one of the seven teachers honored. “I can think of no better gift than books.”

The other teachers at Wednesday’s event included: Carla Adams of Lexington 2; Julie Krusen of Lexington-Richland 5; Suprita Behera of Bamberg 2; Ron Burgess of Orangeburg 5; Barbara Glover of Barnwell 19; and Yesuratnam Nethala of Allendale.

Bojangles is a major sponsor of the Teacher of the Year program and this year will donate nearly 3,000 books in honor of the 2014 District Teachers of the Year. Since 2010, the chain has donated more than 12,000 books to statewide schools and raised nearly $60,000 as part of the partnership that supports public education. The company is the founding sponsor of Teacher Appreciation Month and will kick off a statewide fundraising campaign in May.

Clifton Rutledge

Earlier this week, two Teachers of the Year from Midlands districts were among five finalists for S.C. Teacher of the Year – Patrick Kelly of Blythewood High and Vivian “Beth” Tuten of Swansea High. The statewide winner will be announced April 23.

State Fair scholarships

The S.C. State Fair is accepting applications for its Ride of Your Life scholarships.

The program annually awards 50 four-year $1,500 scholarships to high school seniors to be applied to post high school education or training at a South Carolina university, college or technical college.

The fair awards $300,000 in scholarships each year.

“This goes to the very heart of our mission: educating South Carolina’s young adults,” said State Fair general manager Gary Goodman. “The cost of a quality education is high, but the cost of being denied the chance for an education is even higher. We’re committed to helping aspiring high school students continue on to college and realize their potential for the future.”

The State Fair scholarships are awarded based on applicants’ overall school performance and involvement, participation in extracurricular activities, communication skills and aptitude for completion of the application. And while it’s not a specifically a needs-based program, individual student need is taken into consideration when applicable.

Any high school senior in the state is eligible to apply. A completed application, official school transcripts, a current photograph and an essay on the student’s South Carolina educational experience is required. Applications must be postmarked by March 14 and the winners will be notified in early May.

To apply, visit scstatefair.org/scholarships and click the link to the application.

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