Education

Education Notebook | Deaf Andrews student earns $500 scholarship

Curtis Sparkman, of Andrews, graduated from the S.C. School for the Deaf and the Blind last month with the Bill and Valerie Barnet Scholarship.
Curtis Sparkman, of Andrews, graduated from the S.C. School for the Deaf and the Blind last month with the Bill and Valerie Barnet Scholarship. Submitted photo

Curtis Sparkman, of Andrews, graduated from the S.C. School for the Deaf and the Blind last month with a diploma in one hand and a $500 scholarship in the other.

The 21-year-old can’t see without his glasses and is deaf, but was always active in school activities such as color guard and the Special Olympics. His passion for the performing arts and keen leadership abilities made him a shoo-in for the Bill and Valerie Barnet Scholarship.

“We’re just so proud of Curtis,” said Sarah Davis, principal of Cedar Springs Academy, which enrolls students with a sensory disability plus another disability.

“He was a great kid, always there to lend a helping hand, always anxious to help others,” Davis said.

Sparkman currently lives at home with his mother Evelyn Graham-Smith, who is anxious for Sparkman to find a job in retail. But because Sparkman is deaf, he needs an interpreter or some other type of aid while at work.

“I want him to do more than sit at home, now that he’s done with school,” Graham-Smith said.

She’s working on getting Sparkman vocational rehabilitation, but in the meantime Sparkman is learning to read lips.

“It’s quiet and still around here, since there’s nobody to sign with him,” Graham-Smith said. “But he’s learning.”

The $500 scholarship goes toward any expense or future work training. Sparkman’s first purchase is a class ring, his mother said.

“He’s one of those students we were excited to have with us,” Davis said. “We wish him well as he moves on into the next chapter of his life.”

Georgetown County schools earn sport safety award

All four Georgetown County District high schools earned the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School award, which recognizes programs that work to improve student athlete safety.

Each high school – Andrews, Carvers Bay, Georgetown and Waccamaw – have an athletic trainers program that is managed by the safety and risk management department, which contracts services through Tidelands Health.

“Our district is honored to receive this recognition from NATA, and we remain committed to keeping our student athletes safe during physical education classes, team practices and games so they can accomplish their own goals of great competition, winning records, fair sportsmanship and good health,” said Superintendent Randy Dozier.

GCSD is the largest district in the state with all of its high schools earning the award, according to Ray White, director of communications for the district. Statewide, only 15 high schools have earned the Safe Schools First Team designation, while two others have been recognized as Second Team schools.

Contact CLAIRE BYUN at 626-0381 and follow her on Twitter @Claire_TSN.

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