S.C. high school students during a recent competition demonstrated they have what it takes to succeed in the workplace.
The Jobs for America’s Graduates-SC (JAG-SC) eighth annual Career Development Conference held March 28 at the Doubletree by Hilton in Columbia featured competitors from 23 high schools.
Swansea High was crowned the state champion after collecting the most points from all of the events, which covered topics such as interviewing skills, public speaking, decision making and essay writing. Wade Hampton High in Varnville took second, and Lake Marion High in Santee placed third.
Coordinated by the SC Department of Employment and Workforce, JAG is a high school dropout prevention program focused on academic success and career readiness skills. Currently in its ninth year, it has served more than 7,000 students.
With the help of a dedicated career specialist at each participating school, JAG students work on skills identified by businesses as essential to successful employment. The S.C. program has been consistently recognized at the national level for its success in equipping young people for life beyond high school.
DEW Executive Director Cheryl M. Stanton and Steve Becton, associate director of urban education for the Facing History and Ourselves Organization, delivered motivational speeches to the more than 550 students in attendance. JAG alumnus Keymo Walker, now a freshman at Winthrop University, also addressed the audience. First place public speaking winner Georquel Goodwin of Lake Marion High delivered his speech to all attendees during an afternoon session.
Eduardo Mota of Swansea High won the Governor’s Award, given annually to recognize the JAG student who has demonstrated outstanding achievement and commitment to his or her goals.
Other winners were:
- Golden Key Award for community support of the program –Jennifer Smith of J&J Home Repairs, nominated by Swansea High
- Career Association Chapter Display—South Florence High
- Career Association Chapter Manual—Wade Hampton High
- Theme Essay— Xitali Torres, Swansea High
- Theme Poetry—Shantia Dobson, Wade Hampton High
- Theme Poster— Collin North, Colleton County High School
- Employability Skills— a tie for first place between Zakira Felder of Creek Bridge High and Jalon Wilson of Swansea High
- Telephone Techniques—Jalena James, Lake Marion High
- Words in the Workplace—Willie Johnson, Wade Hampton High
- Decision Making—Marquise McAbee Cruz, Chesnee High
- Executive Director’s Awards given to students demonstrating personal commitment to positive change—Taylor Hicks of C.A. Johnson High, Christian Bennett of Calhoun County High, Harley Morris of Chesnee High, Ky’Eisha Carter of Chester High, Timothy Williams of Clinton High, Terele Parker of Colleton County High, Lewis Timmons of Creek Bridge High, Keyaria Williams of Darlington High, Austin Lawton of Lake Marion High, O’Dontay McCullough of Lancaster High, Erin Williams of Manning High, Derianna Anderson of McCormick High, Aleshia Erickson of Rock Hill High, Raekwon Rouse of South Florence High, Eduardo Mota of Swansea High, Savannah McDowell of Timmonsville High, T’Ana Lightfoot of Wade Hampton High, and Shaquan Ingram of West Florence High.