Thirty-seven participants from across South Carolina recently graduated from Leadership South Carolina, the state’s oldest and most respected leadership development program.

Graduates completed 120 hours of instruction about issues facing the state while their class project raised $70,000 for Orangeburg’s Robert E. Howard Middle School.

For more than four decades, Leadership South Carolina, created in 1979 by Gov. Richard Riley, has molded leaders in the only statewide program exploring problems facing the Palmetto State. During the past 15 years, class projects have raised $600,000 for critical needs.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic required some speakers to address the class remotely, members traveled throughout the state during the nine-month program learning about education, the environment, economic development, social issues, and future challenges. Sessions were held in Columbia, Seabrook Island, Greenville, Greenwood, Spartanburg and Florence with graduation Sept. 8 at the Lace House in the Governor’s Mansion Complex.

Leadership South Carolina Board of Trustees Chairman Jason Bristol awarded diplomas while Dr. Ron Rhames, president of Midlands Technical College and a LSC graduate, presented Continuing Education Certificates to graduates.

For their class project, the Class of ’21 chose to assist Howard Middle School in Orangeburg, a Title I School in the economically depressed area of the state sometimes referred to as the Corridor of Shame. All 430 students at the school are eligible for free school lunches. Project Paint the Way raised $70,000 to repaint deteriorating hallways, add much-needed landscaping and create a clothes closet on campus to provide clothing and shoes for needy kids.

Leadership South Carolina’s goal is to inspire future leaders through leadership training and awareness of the state’s most urgent challenges.

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Local graduates from the Leadership South Carolina Class of 2021 are:

Alice Hodges, Executive Director, Meg’s House, Greenwood.

Pamela Vaughn, Manager Environmental and Regulatory Compliance, FujiFilm Manufacturing U.S.A., Greenwood.

Submitted by Helen