Local school is top finalist for 'Palmetto's Finest'

By Nicole Johnson  bio | email | Twitter

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - A Dorchester District Two elementary school is the only in the tri-county area being recognized as a finalist for the statewide "Palmetto's Finest" award.

For the past three and a half years William Reeves Elementary has been a growing school, in a growing area of Summerville, and growing into possibly one of the best statewide.

At least students think so.

"We have amazing teachers, and amazing principals who always show us rock, and we rock," 5th grader Haley Unbewest said.

"Some of the librarians they come in and say hello every morning, which just warms everyone's heart I guess," 5th grader Zac Vinson said.

"I would give them an A+, even if I could go higher, I would give them the highest grade," 5th grader Sergio Salazar said.

"It is an example of a school, and a team of individuals who have come together for a common cause. We've been very blessed with state report cards. The first year average, the next year good, the next year excellent," Principal Laura Blanchard said.

School officials shared with the South Carolina Association of School Administrators about their student achievement, the character-building "Rock" program, and after school incentives. The association says the school is right on their A-game.

The school has won various recognition through the years, but they'd like to add one more award. The SCASA organization has recognized WRES as a top five finalists for the "Palmetto's Finest" award, out of applicants from elementary schools statewide.

The award prestigious enough, even the district's top educator Superintendent Joe Pye visited, excited about what he calls quote "the academy awards for school districts."

"For them to be in the finals is quite incredible. Having been part of this school since it opened with the administration, this school is ready and going to be on top. I can't imagine there's a better school in South Carolina," Pye said.

He plans on taking the trip to Columbia for the announcement, where administrators, teachers parents and students are hoping for a perfect score as "Palmetto's Finest."

The school has to wait until Tuesday evening to find out if it is one of "Palmetto's Finest." The district is sending up two busloads of supporters, more than 140 people.

The fairly new school hasn't been without its own set of challenges. It's a title one school meaning many of the students there are qualified for free or reduced lunch. That hasn't stopped this school; William Reeves is the only school in the tri-county to achieve top five recognition out of elementary, middle and high schools.

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