Aiken County school board honors student achievement

May 10—Students were the focus of the night at the Aiken County Board of Education meeting on May 9.

Students from several schools in Aiken County were honored for their artistic and athletic achievements. North Augusta High School's girls basketball team was honored, alongside the All-State band recipients.

Additionally NAHS National Photography Contest winner Luke Loboto and S.C. HOSA state leadership conference winner Cheyenne Campbell from Midland Valley were also recognized.

"Congratulations to everybody that was recognized tonight... those are quite some achievements," school board Chairman Cameron Nuessle said. "This week is when we celebrate teacher appreciation week in Aiken County Public Schools so from the bottom of my heart, and I may be speaking for the entire board, I don't think they'll mind, I want to give a sincere and heartfelt thank you for what folks do day in and day out."

Belvedere Elementary School Principal Allyson Long also spoke during the school highlight section of the meeting about the school's "houses" and how the sense of community impacted the learning environment.

"It truly was that being a part of something bigger than yourself that has kept our students and families motivated throughout the year," Long said.

Long said that the house method, along with increased volunteer efforts and success increased student performance by up to 12% in MAP testing.

"When I think about the work, I certainly celebrate the accomplishments and remember the fun moments, but it is truly the times that staff members are sitting around and reminiscing about the good parts, the struggles, the moments that we overcome everyday," Long said. "I feel like this can happen at Belvedere because we have a high level of trust on our team and the staff feel empowered by the autonomy to do what is best for their students."

"We work hard as a team, celebrate the wins, all with our students' best interest at our core," Long said. "There isn't a day where I don't pull up at school that I'm not overwhelmed with a sense of disbelief and privilege that i get to do this work everyday."

"We had a lot of celebrations tonight," Aiken County Schools Superintendent King Laurence said. "I certainly was very thrilled to hear about the things going on with Belvedere Elementary and Ms. Long being here."

Samantha Winn covers the cities of North Augusta and Augusta, with a focus on community oriented business and events. Follow her on Twitter: @samanthamwinn and on Facebook and Instagram: @swinnnews.