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Lexington Four Community Partnership held a breakfast to thank their participants

Gaston, SC (Angelica Iglesias) – Lexington Four Community Partnership held a breakfast meeting at Mission Lake on Friday, May 19 to thank their participants and discuss what the school district has accomplished this school year.

Lexington Four Community Partnership strives to bring their schools and communities together by building awareness, sharing opportunities, ensuring student success, and creating, expanding, learning, and transforming together. The breakfast was put together by Lisa Ingram, coordinator of Human Resources and Community Relations for Lexington School District Four.

The morning started off with breakfast from Chick-Fil-A and then went into a meeting led by Emily Allen, the literacy coach at Sandhills Primary.

First, teachers from Sandhills Primary spoke about what their students did to help the community this school year. In art class, the students teamed up with Ben’s Bells and made over 700 bells. The mission of Ben's Bells is to inspire, educate, and motivate people to realize the impact of intentional kindness, and to empower individuals to act according to that awareness, thereby strengthening themselves, their relationships and their communities. Through their kindness challenge, every student was able to go home with a bell and many were given to people in the community. Many bells are even being sent to families in Cambodia. The students of Sandhills Primary also sponsored a family that lost their home to a fire. Their goal was to make 50 stuffed hearts and sell them to make $250 for the family. They ended up making over 100 hearts and raising $1,600! The students were involved in everything from sewing the hearts, packaging them, and getting them out to the community.

Two girls in the seventh grade at Sandhills Middle School noticed that some of their classmates were struggling in their classes and wanted to start a student-run tutoring program. The teachers told them to come up with a plan in order to present it to the principal. The students came up with a full tutoring program which includes lessons plans, progress reports, and partner match-ups. As eighth graders, they plan to continue the program and branch it over to the new seventh grade class.

Swansea High School also had a lot going on this school year. Some young ladies started an organization called PEARLS (Purpose to Embody Ambition, Leadership, and Success). It is an all-female group that is meant to empower girls and give them the tools they need to accomplish their goals. During the year they made baskets and filled them with necessities, such as hygiene products, for girls and women in the community that may not be able to afford them. They also did mentoring with the middle school by making tie dye shirts with them and presenting them with speakers who gave tips on how to succeed, like what to wear for a job interview. The group went on many college tours this year and plans to go on more next year, along with some job shadowing opportunities as well.

Swansea High School’s Students In Action (SIA) team, which is a part of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), has won region team three years in a row and came out with state this year! They will represent the state of South Carolina at this year’s Jefferson Awards Ceremony in Washington, DC. The group does many things for the community. They run a food pantry that feeds over 100 families every two weeks. They have provided school supplies for students all around the Midlands through their Stuff-A-Bus project. At Christmas, they spent $2,000 buying all the presents for three families. They have also hosted many presentations, a bullying awareness presentation for Sandhills Middle School, and a texting and driving presentation for Swansea High School’s freshman class.

A representative from City Year spoke about the impact their mentors had on Sandhills Primary. Their 24 mentors spent over 1,700 hours with individual students and reached over 1,500 students. They focus on improving children’s attendance, socio-emotional support, and support in math and English.

The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department has implemented 130 different activities for students over the summer. They have teamed up with Boy Scouts to have a leadership camp three Saturdays in June. It will be held at Mission Lake and is open to 50 boys from different schools in Lexington County. After the boys complete the camp, they will get to go to the Aviation Center in West Columbia and fly with an officer who is a licensed pilot. They also have a campaign called Chasing the Dragon this summer. It is a presentation meant to educate the community on the drug overdose problem in South Carolina, to be held at Swansea First Baptist Church.

Lexington Four Community Partnership has done many things this school year for the community and they look forward to doing even more next year.

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Call Paul Kirby

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