Amber Stone is making waves in the world of math and science.

The W.J. Keenan High School student recently distinguished herself among students from seven South Carolina school districts when she received the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics Best Overall State Award.

The participating school districts are part of the Accelerate program, a new virtual engineering program that is taught in conjunction with the Governor’s School.

While claiming the state award, Stone was named the top Accelerate student at her school and was commended for exhibiting self-control, integrity, responsibility, flexibility, innovation, persistence, commitment and initiative. Grades and teamwork were included to determine the best all-around student at each site and statewide.

Accelerate students study at their high schools during the academic year and participate in virtual classes taught by Governor’s School faculty. Students can earn as many as 32 college credits toward an engineering degree.

Participating school districts include Richland 1, Lexington 1, Orangeburg 5, Dorchester 2, Greenville County, Horry County, and Pickens County.

Girl Scouts appoint Emerald Circle Chair

Girl Scouts of South Carolina-Mountains to Midlands has named Virginia A. “Gina” McCuen the 2014 chairwoman for the Emerald Circle – Lexington County.

The new county women’s philanthropic group seeks to support the Girl Scout leadership experience, partnering with circles in other counties to help girls become leaders in their families, schools, churches and communities.

McCuen is the owner and recruiter of Snelling Personnel Services in Lexington and Columbia. She was named a Girl Scout Woman of Distinction in 2007 and has received numerous civic awards for community service, including the Kiwanian of the Year, Sertoma Mankind Award, Business Advocate for Women and Columbia Woman of the Year.

She received degrees from Barton College, where she was named the 2001 Distinguished Alumnus, and Ohio University.

Sexual Trauma Services names new board members

Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands recently welcomed three new members to its board.

Katie Fox is executive director of the Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College. Fox received an undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri and earned master’s degrees in business administration and nonprofit management from the University of Cincinnati.

Michael Traynham is an attorney for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. He was graduated from the University of South Carolina Honors College and the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Jane Senn retired in 2012 from Lexington District 2, where she served 30 years as a speech-language pathologist. She received a bachelor of arts in psychology and a master’s of speech pathology from the University of South Carolina.

Empowering young women

Daybreak Pregnancy Center will hold a free empowerment conference for young women Aug. 1 in Lexington.

The Pure Excitement conference seeks to help Midlands middle school and high school girls and mothers make healthy choices, avoid high-risk behaviors and realize their value. Topics will include healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, beauty, worth, self-esteem, boundaries and preventing teen pregnancy. There will be seven speakers, as well as music, dancing, prizes, food and conversation sessions.

The event will run from 2-6 p.m. at The Harvest Church in “The Rock,” 4865 Sunset Blvd., Lexington.

To register online, visit

About Bertram Rantin

Bertram Rantin


Bertram Rantin is The State's metro columnist with a current focus on the inspirational people and community helpers in Columbia, SC, and the Midlands. Rantin has covered a variety of areas during his tenure at the newspaper including local government, schools, sports, features, transportation, volunteerism and non profits. Email Bertram at or call him at (803) 771-8306.

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