2017-07-14 / Education

School Stars

Jul ia Benitez-Nelson, a Hand Middle School student, performed a flute sonata May 29 before an international crowd during the Spoleto Festival in Charleston. The performance included an interview with the event’s host, during which Julia talked about Hand’s strong academic and artistic programs.

Earlier this year, Julia auditioned for and was named a Piccolo Spoleto Rising Star. She is the first Richland One student to receive this honor.

The goal of the Rising Star Program is to provide a high profile performance venue that focuses on the many artistically gifted students in North and South Carolina.

Dr. Sarah G. Smith, principal of Burton-Pack Elementary School, has received double honors. Earlier this year, Dr. Smith was the recipient of the Living Legacy Award by Columbia’s National Council of Negro Women, Inc. The Living the Legacy Award recognizes individuals whose contributions to their community and mankind personify the legacies and philosophies of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.


Julia Benitez-Nelson Julia Benitez-Nelson On June 6, Dr. Smith was nominated for the 2017 Enduring Spirit Award in Education by the Friends of African American Art and Culture (FAAAC) Group at the Columbia Museum of Art. The FAAAC award celebrates women in the Midlands who embody the art of Tyrone Geter, a talented local artist.

“It is quite an honor,” said Dr. Smith, “to be recognized by two distinguished community groups whose primary focus is to promote positive change in their communities through the empowerment of individuals who share the same mission.

Richland One is accepting nominations for its 2017 Hal l of Fame induction class. Persons, living or deceased, who have made significant contributions to the school district, their communities, their professions and/ or society as a whole, are eligible for induction into the Richland One Hall of Fame.


Dr. Sarah G. Smith Dr. Sarah G. Smith The Hall of Fame nomination packet is posted on the district’s website, www.richlandone.org. Nominations must be submitted online by July 27, 2017 at 5 p.m.

Four Richland One schools have received South Carolina Green Steps awards for exemplary environmental projects.

A.C. Moore Elementary, Bradley Elementary, and Lower Richland High schools, along with the Heyward Career and Technology Center, were recently recognized for developing various conservation and recycling programs that could be used as models by other schools.

Keep the Midlands Beautiful, Sonoco Recycling, and the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling established the Green Steps Schools to encourage schools to take steps each year toward becoming more environmentally responsible.


(L-r) Katherine “Paige” Ashworth, Rep. Beth Bernstein, and Litzel Martinez-Garcia. (L-r) Katherine “Paige” Ashworth, Rep. Beth Bernstein, and Litzel Martinez-Garcia. Nicole Bishop, a teacher at Irmo Elementary School in District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties, has been named the 2017 South Carolina History Teacher of the Year.

This year’s recipients of the Beth Bernstein Women’s Leadership Scholarship are Katherine “Paige” Ashworth, a Spring Valley High School graduate, who will be attending Clemson University; and Litzel Martinez Garcia, also a Spring Valley High School graduate, who will be attending Columbia College.

Representative Beth Bernstein is able to present a $ 1,000 one- time scholarship to a female high school senior( s), residing in her house district, who will be attending a South Carolina university, college, or technical college. The scholarship is based on several criteria including, but not limited to, academics, leadership skills, and extra-curricular activities.

Return to top