by Lauren Owens
The Fellows in Education got to experience South Florence High School’s dream during their visit to the school Tuesday, March 3.
Lisa Suggs, assistant principal, told the fellows that dreams do come true.
“Last year we dared to dream, and we’ve seen things, successes this year, and that’s why we are here to tell you it can happen in a short amount of time,” Suggs said.
During the meeting, the fellows heard a presentation from a few administrators and teachers.
Suggs, during her presentation, said South Florence High imagined being a school where the arts flourished and students are encouraged to think creatively.
Suggs cited several areas in which the school in the past year has seen great growth, including the addition of a new piano lab and broadcast studio and the renovation of the auditorium, library and several classrooms.
Jackie Shuler, assistant principal, spoke to fellows about the newly created arts magnet program at South Florence High.
The school has been an arts school for several years, but for a long time the school wanted to become an arts magnet school. The creation of the arts magnet program allowed students from across the district to apply to the arts program at South Florence High.
Last year, the school received its first group of students to the arts magnet school program.
“When we all started at South Florence, it was not all blank pages,” Shuler said. “It was actually an outline of where we wanted to go, and what we’ve been able to do with Dr. O’Malley and the arts is we’ve been able to color in the pages.” (Richard O’Malley is the district superintendent.)
After sharing South Florence’s dream and what it has accomplished, Erick Figueras said the school is beyond grateful for what it has received, and it is going to keep moving forward.
“So we dared to dream, we accomplished some of our dreams, but we are not going to be satisfied,” Figueras said. “We are going to continue to dream.”
South Florence High wants to continue to upgrade its facility, including a dance studio, new gym with an athletic training facility and new instructional space for band and percussion.
After the presentation, the fellows toured the school’s dance class, visual arts class and the distance learning classroom. The fellows also heard an algebra class sing a song to remember the quadratic formula and another class play “Stand By Me” on guitar.
The Fellows in Education is a program that offers Florence business leaders a chance to see what takes place in schools. The program, which is in its fifth year, is sponsored by Florence One Schools, The School Foundation and the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.
The next Fellows in Education meeting will be April 14 at Briggs Elementary School.
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