Laurens District High School has a doozie of a football team, and, among many other excelling groups, it was honored by the board of School District 55 in their monthly meeting on Monday night.
The Raiders clinched first place in Region 1-5A last Friday night, and head coach Chris Liner, his staff and his captains were honored by the board. It was early in a meeting that lasted more than two hours, not counting an executive session at the start.
Coming on the heels of his team’s 33-23 conquest of T.L. Hanna, Liner expanded on what he had said after that region-clinching victory. He said he wore his Raider green to church on Sunday and was as excited for the people of the district as he was for the team he leads.
Liner grew up in Greenwood, where “we considered Laurens every bit our equal, so it’s exciting to get back to that.
“I’m so happy,” he added, “to see a bright light shining on this place again.”
Superintendent Dr. Stephen Peters further opined, referring to the captains, that they were “as good in the classroom, as good off the field, as they are on it.”
Jody Penland, whose status as interim assistant superintendent for administrative services has been affirmed for the long term, introduced overachievers from the elementary and middle schools for perfect scores in something called S.C. PASS and S.C. READY testing.
They are, from Ford Elementary, Yanelli Cruz Baltazar and Yandel Reynoso; from Waterloo Elementary, Corissa Green; from Hickory Tavern School, Matthew Gorman, Elliott Wilkinson and Robert Simmonds; from Laurens Elementary, Zakarion Simpson; from Laurens Middle, Hadden Martin; from Gray Court-Owings School, Tyler Riggins; and from E.B. Morse Elementary, Amber-Jade Campbell.
All but Campbell, who was honored in science, scored their perfection in math.
Dr. Ameca Thomas, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, provided the board with a series of locally approved courses in subjects ranging from the marching band to the Old Testament, with math essentials and several levels of journalism somewhere in between. They were approved, though already officially listed as Local Board Approved Courses.
Penland also delivered a detailed report on District 55’s performance in state report cards.
Also approved was a partnership with District 56 in alternative programs. The county’s other public school district has agreed to provide one teacher for every 15 students it sends to the already existing District 55 program.
Chief of staff Ed Murray then presented another in a series of policy changes designed to bring District 55 in compliance with policies of the national and state school board associations. Cathy Little of Seat 2 expressed her misgivings but agreed to vote for first reading and possibly propose changes for second reading at the next meeting.
The board also selected a delegate, Barbara Beeks of Seat 3, and an alternate, Anthony Carpenter of Seat 5, to represent the district at the S.C. School Board Association Delegate Assembly.
In the public comment section, Rev. David Kennedy vigorously came out in favor of equal treatment for all students regardless of the color of their skins and the contents of their families’ pocketbooks. Keith Tripp expressed the view that the Constitution does not explicitly endorse a separation of church and state. In fact, Tripp flashed a 100-dollar bill and said he would give it to anyone who could find the phrase “separation of church and state” in the text of the Founders’ document.