UNION COUNTY — The hiring of personnel for the current and upcoming school years, the approval of overnight field trips, and approving a request by a Christian ministry to use school facilities to house its members while they repair and renovate houses were among the actions taken by the Union County Board of School Trustees this week.
The board voted unanimously to approve the following overnight field trip requests:
• The Union County High School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) trip to the State FBLA Leadership Conference which will be held in Charleston from Friday, March 16-Sunday, March 18.
• Lockhart School students trip to the State Museum and Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia on Thursday, May 24 and Friday, May 25.
• CATE Center HOSA members trip to the HOSA State Leadership Conference which will be held Wednesday, March 7-Friday, March 9 at the Charleston Convention Center.
The board also voted unanimously to approve the appointment of the following individuals to the following positions for the current 2017-2018 school year and for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year:
• Jonathan Smoak — Director of Food and Nutrition Services
• Michelle James — Director of Special Services
• Jacob Creed Fowler — General Maintenance
• Jennifer Adams — Part-Time Title I Tutor at Foster Park Elementary School
• Reggie Wicker — Director of Elementary Education
• Jason Koepke — Principal at Foster Park Elementary School
• Kelsie Lewis — Early Childhood Teacher at Jonesville Elementary/Middle School
• Kelsey Hanrahan — School Psychologist Intern at Special Services
• Jarette Pendergrass — Assistant Principal at Buffalo Elementary School
Salkehatchie Summer Service
In other business, the board also voted unanimously to approve a request from the Salkehatchie Summer Service that it be allowed to use Sims Middle School in June.
According to its website (www.salkehatchie.org) Salkehatchie Summer Service “is a pioneering servant ministry at selected sites in South Carolina involving high school and college age youth, adult community leaders and persons of different cultures in upgrading housing, motivating community cooperative efforts by helping persons to help themselves, and providing all participants with opportunities for personal growth and service.”
A program of the “South Carolina Conference Board of Global Ministries,” Salkehatchie Summer Service “is for high school and college age youth drawn primarily from the South Carolina United Methodist Conference. Participants must be at least 14 years old by the beginning of the camp they attend. Adult leaders are also needed to offer guidance and support.”
As for the reason behind the program, the website states:
Many of our neighbors in South Carolina live in homes needing repair and Jesus has called us to love our neighbor (Luke 10:29-37). South Carolina United Methodist Youth need to experience Christian servant hood. “And he said to all, ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’ ” — (Luke 9:23)
The Salkehatchie Summer Service program was established 40 years ago by the Rev. John Culp, a Union native who was living in the Lowcountry who, in addition to being a minister, was a volunteer fireman. While responding to a fire at a house where children lived, Culp was deeply troubled by the living conditions he saw and vowed they would not exist without him doing something about it. He and some youth then started doing home repairs and thus the Salkehatchie Summer Service — which is named for the Salkhehatchie River which was near where Culp began the ministry — was born.
Since that time, thousands of teenage and adult volunteers has repaired and renovated hundreds of houses throughout South Carolina, including Union County.
In 2017, 67 Salkehatchie Summer Service participants — both teenagers and adults who each paid $230 to take part in the program — spent a week in June repairing three houses in Jonesville, one in Union, and one in Carlisle. In 2016, 75 participants spent a week renovating two residences in Union, two in Jonesville, and one in Carlisle. The participants were housed in the gym at Sims Middle School where their breakfasts were served them while their lunches and dinners were provided by volunteers from a number of local churches.
This year’s Summer Salkehatchie Service in Union County will be held Saturday, June 15-Saturday, June 23.
Volunteers with the Salkehatchie Summer Service program build a roof on a house in Jonesville. The volunteers spent a week in June 2016 renovating homes in Union, Jonesville, and Carlisle. Salkehatchie Summer Service will return to Union County this year to renovate houses during the week of Saturday, June 15-Saturday, June 23. The Union County Board of School Trustees voted unanimously this week to allow Salkehatchie Summer Service to house its volunteers in the Sims Middle School gym.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.