Education notebook | Conway students ride to their reward

The engineer blew the whistle as the Polar Express rounded the circle outside Waccamaw Elementary School Tuesday, loaded with students who were enjoying their big event.

The train ride was a highlight of the December reward celebration, part of the school’s Positive Behavior Intervention System, Assistant Principal Gail Dale said.

An event is held at the end of each month for the students who practice their High Fives – Be Safe, Be Honest, Be Respectful, Be Responsible and Do Your Personal Best – and mega-celebrations, such as bowling, are held at the end of the first and second halves of the year for those with no principal referrals during those time periods. Dale said it’s a schoolwide program, and it’s working for their students, who range from 3 years old to fifth grade.

“This is a happy day at Waccamaw, and it couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Dale, who said some children had told her they were scared coming to school Monday, following the school shootings in Connecticut the previous week. “The kids are sad, and this let’s them heal some of that and know that school’s still going to be fun.”

The school’s Parent Teacher Organization sponsored the event, which included hot chocolate and a winter wonderland, decorated with Christmas trees, inflatables – even the Grinch. Santa Claus also was on hand to take pictures with the kids, who got to wear pajamas to school that day.

Fourth-grade teacher Scarlet McCracken said the event was magical for her students and gave them a bit of Christmas that perhaps some of them wouldn’t ordinarily experience. She said some of them also were able to relate it to the movie “The Polar Express.”

“They were like, ‘This is what it feels like,’ ” she said. “They got a different perspective and were able to share that sparkle and joy of Christmas.”

Black Water students interview famous author

Students in Carrie Baker’s English class at Black Water Middle School in Conway Skyped Monday with Rodman Philbrick, author of “Freak the Mighty.”

The sixth-graders interviewed Philbrick about how he became a writer, the inspiration for his books and any writing tips he could give them. Baker said Skyping is a technology being utilized to enhance the students’ computer skills and to increase learning to build 21st century leaders.

Myrtle Beach brunch celebrates diversity

Myrtle Beach High School held its 2012 International Brunch and Celebration of Cultures Dec. 14.

Students represented more than 20 countries, including Albania, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Israel, Mexico, Micronesia, Morocco, Peru, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, and brought food to share. There also were dance performances, including the merengue and la bachata.

To get a taste of the event, go to

Myrtle Beach academy holds community projects

The Academy for the Arts, Science and Technology held a schoolwide food drive during November and collected more than 3,700 items for Helping Hand of Horry County.

The school also collected about 45 shoeboxes for Elijah Bear’s Local Christmas Boxes, an organization created in 2010 by a first-grader who wanted to help needy children in his school.

Shoeboxes are collected and filled with anything a 4- to 12- year-old child may want for Christmas. AAST’s gifts ranged from clothing items to electronics, and Eli’s parents picked up the shoeboxes Dec. 12. The school collected enough to supply gifts to two elementary/primary schools. Allison Collins (and helpers) of Little River delivered the shoeboxes to the schools last week.

Go online to help schools

It’s the season of giving, so check out some easy ways to give financial support to schools.