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WEP March 2024 Teacher of the Month
Michael Rosier
WEP March 2024 Teacher of the Month

Edgefield, SC – W.E. Parker Elementary School’s (WEP) first employee spotlight program is under way thanks to the support of the school’s new partner in education, Edgefield County Farm Bureau Insurance Agency and agency manager, Brad Smith.

“We greatly appreciate the Edgefield County Farm Bureau Insurance Agency and Mr. Brad Smith for supporting our new employee spotlight program,” stated WEP Principal, Charidy Goldman. “We have amazing teachers and support staff here at W.E. Parker Elementary and we are thrilled to be able to partner with Farm Bureau to recognize them each month during the school year.” 

The Partner-in-Education, or P.I.E. Program, at W.E. Parker Elementary recognized WEP fourth-grade teacher, Stephanie Humphries, as Teacher of the Month in March, while WEP kindergarten paraprofessional, Barbara Smith, was announced as the school’s Support Staff of the Month.

They were each presented with their awards by Edgefield County Farm Bureau Customer Service Representative, Donna Parker.

Thank you to the Edgefield County Farm Bureau Insurance Agency and congratulations to Ms. Humphries and Ms. Smith.

WEP March 2024 Support Staff of the Month


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Strom Thurmond High School Four-Sport Standout, Hoops Star Katlyn Chinn Signs with Columbia International University
Michael Rosier
Katlyn Chinn Signs with CIU

Johnston, SC – One of the best athletes in Strom Thurmond High School (STHS) sports history put pen to paper on Friday, May 10, 2024, as four-sport standout and Class AA all-state hoops star Katlyn Chinn signed a national letter of intent to play collegiate basketball at Columbia International University (CIU).

Katlyn, who first played varsity basketball in the eighth grade, led the way from her point guard position where she attacked defenses with dribble penetration while wreaking havoc defensively with her speed and quickness.

She also reached the 1,000-point scoring mark during the 2023-24 season, averaging more than 15 points per game.

“Today is the day I have dreamed about since the fourth grade, when I knew what I wanted to do and who I wanted to become,” stated Katlyn. “My athletic journey was filled with ups and downs, but I was taught that hard work, dedication, perseverance and trust in God would always get you through. I most importantly want to thank God for giving me the ability and passion to play this sport. Without Him none of the accomplishments I’ve met would have been possible.”

“I want to thank my family for all the support and encouragement throughout the years,” she added.

Katlyn was joined at the signing by her future coach, Columbia International University women’s basketball coach, Mark Molder; her parents, Ulysses and Gwendolyn Chinn; her sister, a CIU alumnus and one of her high school coaches, Ashlee Chinn, and Laylah Stevens.

Strom Thurmond High School girls basketball coach Dr. Alan Gray said Katlyn’s unique combination of talent, academic excellence and personal character makes her extremely special.

“One thing I want all of you to understand is how important this is,” commented Dr. Gray. “With the portal and junior college, coaches are not really recruiting (high school) seniors to be (college) freshmen and that says a lot in itself. Coach (Molder) could have gone to the portal or junior college to find a more experienced player, but he chose to come here and get Katlyn. She gives her all, not only in the athletic arena but in the classroom as well.” 

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Self Regional Partnership Group Photo 2
Michael Rosier
Self Regional Healthcare Signing

Johnston, SC – Seated together at the intersection of education, technology and workforce development, representatives from Strom Thurmond High School (STHS) and Self Regional Healthcare signed an innovative, long-term partnership on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, that promises to join STHS student career aspirations and community workforce needs hand in hand. 

The new agreement announces Self Regional Healthcare’s commitment to take the lead as the new title sponsor and community partner of Strom Thurmond High School’s Human Services and Business Academy – one for the school’s three new learning academies, including the STEAM Academy and Freshman Academy. The new academy will now be recognized as the Self Regional Healthcare Human Services and Business Academy.

The heart of the partnership lies in the innovative career academy model, an educational approach integrating rigorous academic coursework with real-world industry exposure. The model strives to equip Strom Thurmond High School students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary to graduate both college and career ready.

“We are thrilled to embark on this collaborative journey that promises to enrich the educational experience of our students here at Strom Thurmond High School,” stated Strom Thurmond High School Career Academy Specialist, Nate Horton. “Working closely with Self Regional Healthcare, our students will benefit from direct access to industry professionals, cutting edge technologies and relevant workplace experiences. Together, we are committed to fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration and excellence, where Strom Thurmond High School students can reveal their full potential and emerge as the leaders and innovators of tomorrow.”


Edgefield County Public School District Superintendent, Dr. Kevin O’Gorman, expressed his joy and optimism to a number of STHS students who attended the partner recognition ceremony.

“Health science is a big need in our community. We thank Self Regional Healthcare for joining us on this journey as our very first business partner of our Career Academy Model at Strom Thurmond,” stated Dr. O’Gorman. “By bringing in business partners that help our teachers and students learn academic content in tandem with career skills that interest our students – it will provide a more meaningful and relevant high school experience for our students.”

Strom Thurmond High School Principal, Fran Altringer, says partnerships like the one commemorated in Wednesday’s signing help answer an age-old question posed by students to teachers since the very beginning of formalized education.

“I believe I have the answer to the question that everyone has been asking, which has been, Mrs. Altringer, why do we have to learn this?” asked Altringer. “Or, when will we ever need this? Well, what we are doing here today is the ‘this’ of why we’re doing all of this. Our partnership with Self Regional Healthcare will help to answer those questions for our students and for our teachers as well. Sometimes, as a math teacher I had a very good answer to those questions and other times I would be at a loss. There are technologies and occupations, and experiences we as educators may not even know about. This partnership, along with our career center teachers, will help to broaden our horizons for our students and for the adults in our buildings as well. Once our students graduate, we want them to have a direction, a plan, a path and the skills and experiences to help carry them into life. We appreciate the bravery and vision of Self Regional Healthcare in joining us in this partnership. We’re committed to Self Regional Healthcare, Self Regional Healthcare is committed to us, and we’re all committed to you, our students.”


Self Regional Healthcare Assistant Vice President, Sherri Gordon, represented the healthcare organization at the partnership signing and she feels the future is extremely bright when industry professionals and educators and students work together for a better tomorrow.

“I would first like to extend my gratitude to the administration and faculty of Strom Thurmond High School for their vision and dedication to fostering educational excellence,” stated Gordon. “The academy model here at Strom Thurmond High School is something that’s truly unique. Thank you for your commitment to your students and recognizing the importance of real world experiences in shaping their futures.”

“Healthcare is rapidly changing,” she added. “We just came out of a pretty big pandemic, but we’re also facing a very aging population, and this is going to really increase the demand for healthcare professionals. Technology is also evolving, and interestingly enough, technology in healthcare actually requires more people and not less. I think the healthcare fields are wide open. Something I tell people all the time is that healthcare is not just a vocation, it’s a calling. It has to be something you feel drawn to and something you enjoy. Fortunately for you, as students, It’s a field that is extremely diverse and there are all kinds of places where you can find that joy.”

Self Regional Healthcare is an independent not-for-profit, regional referral hospital that provides care to 300,000 residents of Greenwood, Abbeville, Laurens, Saluda, McCormick, Edgefield and Newberry counties. The health system’s services include acute care and tertiary care, cancer care, neurosurgery, heart and vascular surgery, NICU, orthopedics, genetics, and prevention and wellness services. Self Medical Group is Self Regional’s employed physician affiliate network of 25 primary and specialty care practices and more than 75 physicians. The 450-bed hospital is located in the city of Greenwood.

“We need doctors and nurses, but we also need radiation therapists, we need perfusionists, we need nuclear medicine techs and people in surgical technology,” commented Gordon. “These fields are out there and so very often people are not even aware they exist. What we’re hoping with this partnership is you will begin to see some of these things firsthand.”


Strom Thurmond High School health science student, Sophie Simpkins, says the new partnership will open many doors for herself and others.

“What truly sets our program apart is our new partnership with Self Regional Healthcare,” stated Sophie. “It’s a partnership built on a shared commitment to improving the health and well-being of our community. Our students will also have access to real-world learning opportunities, cutting-edge research facilities and seasoned healthcare professionals.”

“Perhaps the greatest benefit of our partnership is the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the health and well-being of our community,” Sophie added. “Together, we are not just training new healthcare professionals, but we are shaping the future of healthcare, driving positive change, and improving outcomes for patients and families across our region.”

Strom Thurmond High School health science student, Mary Grace Fallaw, says the health science program has the potential to provide an even greater positive impact in the community.

“I am filled with hope and excitement for what the future holds,” commented Mary Grace. “In our new partnership with Self Regional Healthcare, we will have the power to transform lives, elevate healthcare and create a healthier and brighter future for all.”

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2024 Lady Rebels District Title
Michael Rosier
2024 Lady Rebels District Title

Johnston, SC – Madison Rodrigues’ final pitch of the evening induced an innocent infield pop fly that senior shortstop Halynn Smith easily tracked down, ending the ballgame and sending the Strom Thurmond High School Lady Rebels to their second consecutive district championship.

It hadn’t been easy. The back-to-back Region 3-AA champion Lady Rebels trailed by a run after three innings due to some outstanding mound work on the part of the Mid-Carolina starting pitcher. In the bottom of the fourth inning, however, the Lady Rebels’ bats began to find the ball with regularity and a one-run deficit quickly turned into a four-run advantage and a 5-1 lead.

Madison and the Lady Rebels’ defense made sure that score would hold, and Strom Thurmond (20-4) now advances to the Class AA Upper State softball tournament for the second consecutive season. Lady Rebel standout, Leigh Anne Strock, was also named to the Class AA All-State Team.

“We were out in front for the first few innings, but hats off to the girls, they adjusted, and we put some good swings on some balls,” stated Coach Dunlap.

Congratulations are also in order for Dunlap, who was recently named as the Region 3-AA Softball Coach of the Year and Athletic Director of the Year.

The Lady Rebels are scheduled (weather permitting) to begin Upper State tournament play (double elimination) on Friday, May 10, 2024, on the road at Gray Collegiate Academy.

“We just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Coach Dunlap added. “We’ve had the same goal all year, keep being us and keep playing as a team.”

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Michael Rosier

Johnston, SC – Strom Thurmond High School (STHS) senior Shenique Muldrow is as talented and productive in her academic work and school leadership roles as she is in any athletic arena. She serves as STHS student council president, was named homecoming queen and prom queen, and is a three-sport participant for the Lady Rebels in basketball, volleyball and track.

Her excellence in track and field, however, specifically in the triple jump and long jump events, drew the attention of a number of college and university athletic programs, leading to her signing on Tuesday, April 17, 2024, with Francis Marion University (FMU) where she plans to major in Psychology.

She also considered Coastal Carolina University, Norfolk State University and Lander University.

Shenique is the daughter of Sheena Dean and Desmond Johnson.

STHS Girls Track Coach Tony Hillary says Shenique will be a welcomed addition at FMU.

“Shenique is a great athlete, and she works extremely hard on her craft,” stated Hillary. “She will be a great asset for Francis Marion University and the athletics program.”

Shenique says she felt right at home on campus in Florence, South Carolina, home of the Patriots.

“I love how the track program works together as a team and how their coaches always come together for the students,” stated Shenique. “It reminds me of Strom Thurmond all over again.” 

While the FMU coaches were familiar with her athletic capabilities, she says her status as school homecoming queen and prom queen never came up during her recruitment.

“No, they don’t know,” joked Shenique. “My new friends and teammates there know, though.”

Shenique credits her sister, Zenabia Gilchrist, with pushing her to excel every day.

“My sister definitely pushed me so hard to become who I am today,” Shenique commented.

Her advice to her classmates at STHS is simple and meaningful.

“Never give up,” stated Shenique. “Always strive for better opportunities and never settle for less.”

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