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School District Five teacher is a cheerleader for the Carolina Panthers

IRMO – On Sundays you can find one Lexington-Richland School District Five teacher on the sidelines cheering on the Carolina Panthers.

Rutland Martin teaches third grade at Chapin Elementary School during the week and is part of the Carolina Panthers’ Black & Blue Crew on the weekends. The Black & Blue Crew has been engaging and entertaining fans at Bank of America Stadium since 2013. The group of men and women who comprise the Black and Blue Crew interact with fans before gates open out in the tailgating experience. They also interact with fans as they enter Bank of America Stadium and during the game to keep Panthers fans energized and excited.

Martin said, “This year the Black & Blue Crew added stunters to the lineup. It has been great taking my experience from cheering and stunting at the University of South Carolina (USC) to the Panthers. I enjoy being a part of this team and going to the Panthers’ home games because it is a great way to unwind on the weekends.”

At USC, Martin was a member of the Coed Cheerleading team for 4 years serving as the team captain in during his final two years and ultimately placing 9th in the world at the 2017 Universal Cheer Association Partner Stunt National Championship.

Teaching has come as a natural fit for him. The Pelion native is the oldest of 11 children, so taking care of children has always been in his nature. Growing up he always knew teaching was a possibility, but that wasn’t the path he started on in college.

“I started college as a political science major,” Martin said. “I wanted to go to Washington and change the world. Then I decided I wanted to change the world differently, while I was at the University of South Carolina (USC) I was coaching cheerleading on the side and realized I found a talent for working with kids ages 6-12. That led me to switch majors and start with the College of Education and once I was there I got hooked on all the fun parts of teaching.”

This year is Martin’s second year as a teacher at Chapin Elementary. He started at the school as a student-teacher and upon graduation was hired as a full-time staff member.

“It is a privilege to be a part of the Chapin Elementary family and teaching children is not a responsibility that I take lightly,” Martin said. “My mission is to empower my students and help them become agents of their own learning.”

Martin is not only passionate about teaching but also music. He has been playing guitar for 10 years and incorporates music into his lessons to engage the students.

“I try to share the things I am passionate about and also try to find out what the kids are passionate about,” Martin said. “I think people coming together and sharing the things they like to do is the most natural way for the class to flow.”

Chapin Elementary principal Jess Hutchinson said, “Chapin Elementary School is very fortunate to have Rutland Martin teaching our students. We know that we can count on Mr. Martin to set a positive tone for teaching and learning each and every day. Whether he is greeting students in the hallway, playing guitar as they settle in for the day, delivering instruction, or working with colleagues, Mr. Martin always has a way of calming those around him. Lots of learning takes place under his watch and we are proud to have him at Chapin Elementary School!”

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