CrossRoads teacher, students named service learning challenge winners

CrossRoads Middle School sixth grade teacher Christopher Craft and three of his students ‑ Carson Ellis, Corbyn Player and McKenzie Smith ‑ are grand prize winners in the 2015 Belk Service Learning Challenge.

The national contest recognizes top service learning projects that impact the community.

For their winning project, the Lexington-Richland 5 team “Prosthetic Kids” used 3-D printers to create prosthetic hands for children in need.

The Belk Service Learning Challenge asks middle school students to work in teams of up to four classmates with the guidance of a teacher or mentor to identify issues in local communities and to design an action plan to create a solution.

The annual contest is based on research that shows students who participate in service learning initiatives demonstrate improved problem-solving skills and interest in academics.

Craft and the three students were honored during a surprise announcement before the end of school last month. Each student and their teacher receive a $2,000 prize.

Belk also gave CrossRoads Middle $5,000 to cover the purchase of additional 3-D printers.

Mentoring honor is no act

Lori McKelvey, Pleasant Hill Middle School drama and musical theater teacher, has received the South Carolina Theatre Association’s 2015 Deborah Smith Hoffman Outstanding Mentor Teacher Award.

The SCTA awards committee and executive board selected the Lexington 1 teacher based on her contributions to rising, new and experienced theater educators.

McKelvey began teaching drama 17 years ago. She has been at Pleasant Hill for nine years.

A nod to character

Columbia International University athletics director Kim Abbott has been awarded the Game Plan 4 LIFE Female Athletic Staff Character Award by the National Christian College Athletic Association.

The award is given to student-athletes and athletics staff “who epitomize the Christian character qualities of love, integrity, faith and excellence.”

Abbott was recognized during the NCCAA Hall of Fame Banquet during the association’s national convention last month.