It’s that time again, folks! It’s time for the monthly review of Leadership Newberry County’s class. The last Thursday of February we met to learn more about the educational opportunities in Newberry County. The day’s agenda was organized by Hannah Rowe, resource teacher at Newberry High School and myself!
Our day started at the Newberry County Career Center and a fun fact is the majority of our leadership class attended at least one class at the Career Center during their high school career. The center has grown so much since then, to include bio-medical science, engineering, pre-vet tech, and the expansion of auto-tech and welding.
Beverly Leslie, director/principal of the Newberry County Career Center, gave us a tour and shared with us that they are expecting to have over 700 students attending the center next fall, matching the population at Newberry High School and Mid-Carolina High School. The Career Center also focuses on employability skills, like interview and resume skills. They also have a donation center to provide interview attire for students who need them. Next time you think about cleaning out your closet, instead of dropping your dress clothes off at Goodwill, consider bringing them to the Career Center. While you are there, consider taking the day for yourself and get pampered by students in the cosmetology program. Apportionments are available is on Thursdays and Fridays.
Our next stop was to the Teacher Education Center on Speers Street to hear from Deedee Westwood, principal, and Jessica Beam, curriculum coordinator at Mid-Carolina Middle school, about the Leading Ladies and Male Call Mentor Group. The mentor program is going on its 12th year at the middle school from a small male mentorship program to a program for both males and females. The program meets once a month in small groups with a mentor who is a member of our community. Students can be recommended for the program or parents can ask for their students to be in the program. Statistically, students who have a mentor are more likely to volunteer, go to college, become mentors themselves, and hold leadership positions. Mentor programs promote positive social attitudes, students are less likely to drink and do drugs, and they attend school more often.
They are hoping to increase the number of mentors, so if you are interested in becoming a mentor please contact either Deedee Westwood or Jessica Beam for more information.
We learned about another mentor type program from from Dr. John Lesaine, assistant dean of Academic Affairs and associate professor of Sport Professions at Newberry College. Dr. Lesaine is the campus site coordinator at the college for the Call Me MISTER program. The program began 20 years ago on the Clemson University Campus and now chapters can be found at 25 two-year and four-year institutions across South Carolina. It is trickling into colleges and universities across the United States. Their main focus is to increase the number of minority males teaching in lowest performing elementary schools. Students who are accepted into the program can receive a $5,000 scholarship their first year. After they pass Praxis and are accepted into the Teacher Education program, they are then awarded $10,000 per year in scholarship. If you know of any minority males interested in teaching, please have them get in touch with Dr. Lesaine, at Newberry College, regarding the Call Me MISTER program. — John.Lesaine@Newberry.edu
After a delicious lunch from Zesto’s, we began the second half of our day by hearing from Kendall Armstrong about the services of the S.C. Vocational Rehabilitation Center. Mrs. Armstrong serves students on their way to employment who may have a disability. Her office serves most ages, not just young adults. Armstrong visits all the public schools in the county, along with visiting the private schools as needed. She assists with job exploration counseling, advocating for students when they don’t know what to ask and helps those students build the skills to allow them to advocate for themselves. The scope of disability that the student may have is extremely broad and can include anything from depression, anxiety, ADHD to mobile disabilities. The center is funded federally with about 20 percent of funds coming from the state. Their services are not well known to many, but the services they provide can be life changing. If you or someone you know think you may benefit from their services, it never hurts to reach out and ask. Armstrong can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rolling right along, Hannah Rowe spoke to us about Newberry Adult Education. Adult Education is designed to help individuals without a high school credential earn a high school diploma or G.E.D. Students are able to take courses on campus, online, or both to increase skills needed in English, Science, Math, and Social Studies to pass the G.E.D.
To enroll at Newberry Adult Education, prospective students must attend a three day orientation, complete a college level readiness assessment, and pay a $25 enrollment fee. Students will also receive college and career assistance to help them decide their path after receiving their certificate or G.E.D.
Our last stop of the day was to Piedmont Technical College (PTC) where we met Beth Jaeger, director of the Newberry campus. Jaeger gave us a tour of the facilities, which if you have never been inside PTC, it is beautiful! What an amazing space for students to learn. PTC has partnerships with our high schools and career center to allow students to gain college credits before they leave high school. PTC Newberry campus offers a variety of medical field programs like vet-tech, patient care tech, Occupational Therapy Assistance, along with your typical undergraduate programs like business. Some classes are on campus and some are offered online along with some that are blended (spend some time on campus and some online), which allows students more flexibility to obtain their associates degree or additional training needed for a current job. Having this campus in Newberry, and the programs offered, allow for so many opportunities for our neighbors to get a great education and stay local.
I could go on and on about the wonderful education opportunities we have in Newberry, but there is always more to be done. When you see a teacher, administrator, professor, or coach around town, thank them for helping mold the next generation. We all would not be where we are today without our teachers!
Keep an eye out for our next Leadership adventure as we dive into the intricacies of government!