UNION COUNTY — A woman whose life is a testimony to how God can dramatically change people’s lives for the better will be the featured speaker this Friday at Union County High School’s Black History Program.
February is Black History Month which celebrates the role of African-Americans in American history and the contributions they have made to the country and the world during that time.
As part of its celebration of Black History Month, Union County High School is holding its Black History Program this Friday at 9 a.m.
The guest speaker for the program will be educator and author Rona Neely.
Neely’s biography states that she “is a true testimony of how God can turn your trials into triumph! She has overcome many unfortunate circumstances of her youth including family poverty, physical & sexual abuse, promiscuity, and drug/alcohol addiction. Neely’s story is dynamically anointed! Her story is guaranteed to inspire & motivate the young and the old. Her mission is to unlock potential, ignite passion, and unmask the extraordinary purpose of youth and adults.”
The biography states that Neely is a “SC certified educator. Receiving her Associate of Arts and Associate of Science Degrees from Piedmont Technical College in 1992 and 1999, she later received a Bachelor of Science from Lander University in Elementary Education in 2003. Ten years a dream deferred, Neely finally started her life-long dream of teaching at 30 years old in Laurens District 56 Schools. After seven years of service to elementary and middle school students in Clinton, she relocated to Greenville, SC, where she assisted with the development of a new charter school, Lead Academy, where she served elementary and middle grade students for three years. Neely went on to obtain her Master of Science Degree from Clemson University in Youth Development Leadership in 2013. Within the same year, she started a non-profit organization, GEARS Youth Services, Inc., providing after school, tutoring, and summer enrichment to youth.”
It further states that within the first three years of her teaching career, Neely “earned National Board Certification, was named NAACP Teacher of the Year, WalMart Teacher of the Year, and District 56 Teacher of the Year. Her proudest moment was when she was named as a 2008 SC Honor Roll Teacher. With this accomplishment, Neely made history being the FIRST and ONLY teacher in District 56 to advance to a SC TOY finalist, and the FIRST BLACK teacher in District 56 to be recognized as a top five finalist for SC Teacher of the Year!”
The biography states that Neely “is the author of two books, and is happily married to Tim Neely (22 years). Together, they have six children (Shantil, Ciera, Kiyania, Kimaya, Tay, and Tray), and six beautiful grandchildren (Shaniya, Symphani, Trinity, Sharlotte, Arianna, and Ryan Jr.).”
At the present time, Neely is “employed as Regional Facilitator for CERRA (Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement) where she focuses on pre-collegiate programs for recruitment to the teaching profession. Neely serves Teacher Cadet and ProTeam programs in seven counties in the Upstate. The mission of these programs in to increase the pool of qualified applicant to the teaching profession with a secondary mission to increase the percentage of males and minorities to the teaching profession.”