Hartsville PULSE Initiative Selected as Finalist for Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award for Excellence

Hartsville, S.C., U.S. – The TEACH Foundation (Teaching, Educating and Advancing Children in Hartsville) is pleased to announce its PULSE (Partners for Unparalleled Local Scholastic Excellence) initiative has been selected as a finalist for The Riley Institute at Furman University's 2016 Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award for Excellence. The WhatWorksSC award, first given in 2011, highlights outstanding evidence-based educational initiatives throughout South Carolina. Finalists were chosen by a panel of judges from more than 100 entries in the Riley Institute's WhatWorksSC clearinghouse. As a finalist, PULSE will receive a small grant from the Riley Institute for enhancement of the program or consulting with other schools, districts and organizations interested in its replication.

PULSE is a one-of-kind public-private partnership formed to implement a comprehensive scholastic excellence program in Hartsville public schools that expanded curriculum opportunities and further improved student achievement through collaborative academic and social development initiatives. Partners include the Darlington County School District, South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics (GSSM), Coker College and Sonoco. Sonoco funded the initiative through a $5 million grant over five years.

"We believe it is our responsibility to build the community as we build our business," said Harris DeLoach, executive chairman of the board, Sonoco, and chairman of the board, TEACH Foundation. "It is absolutely critical that every child, regardless of economic status, leaves the public school system with the skills needed to succeed in the workplace."

After its five year implementation, a snapshot of results is as follows:

  • A key component of PULSE, the Comer School Development Program, focusing on academic achievement and personal development of elementary students, served more than 6,500 students at four area elementary schools. On average, students increased reading scores by 12-points and math scores by 14-points on Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing.
  • Accelerated Learning Opportunities (ALO) served more than 840 high school students in Hartsville with courses such as Mandarin Chinese, Molecular Biology, Engineering Design and Development, Circuitry and Electronic Inventions, Applied Piano, Class Voice, and more. The ALO program grew to 14 course offerings during the 2015-16 school year and celebrated three successive years of all students passing AP tests, earning college credits. Students participating in ALO have published scientific papers, earned prestigious scholarships and been selected for competitive internships at organizations like NASA.
  • The local Scoutreach component helped more than 350 male students in grades 5k-5 gain leadership skills.
  •  The summer reading program (six weeks long) exceeded its goal of increasing reading proficiency – from four months to six months of reading growth. 

"Every accomplishment begins with action, and PULSE is no different. The five-year program is a great example of coordinated action resulting in positive change. We must build on it," said Jack Sanders, president and CEO of Sonoco.

"The TEACH Foundation is much more than just an exciting and unique partnership," said Dr. Eddie Ingram, superintendent of Darlington County School District. "The Foundation's leadership is forward-thinking in approach and execution. In addition to substantial fiscal support of the PULSE program, the TEACH Foundations also brings innovation and networking opportunities to the people of our district."

Finalists will be recognized and the winner of the 2016 award will be announced at a luncheon October 14 in conjunction with South Carolina Future Minds' annual Public Education Partners (PEP) conference at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The public is invited to attend the full conference or the luncheon only. For more information and/or to register for the luncheon or conference, please visit the Riley Institute's website or contact Jill Fuson at


The TEACH Foundation is a not for profit, 501(c)(3) organization that serves as the administration arm for the PULSE initiative which includes accelerated learning programs at Hartsville High School, students living in Hartsville attending Mayo High School and the Comer School Development Program in four area elementary schools. It was formed as part of the Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce. The Foundation manages the $5 million in funding provided to PULSE by the Sonoco Foundation.

About Sonoco

Founded in 1899, Sonoco is a global provider of a variety of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging, and displays and packaging supply chain services. With annualized net sales of approximately $5 billion, the Company has 20,800 employees working in more than 330 operations in 34 countries, serving some of the world's best known brands in some 85 nations. Sonoco is a proud member of the 2015/2016 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. For more information on the Company, visit our website at

Julie Scott

Scoutreach: Providing leadership skills to young children

Download a flyer on the Scoutreach program in Hartsville. Be sure to follow Scoutreach on Facebook.

Now in its third year, more than 85 young boys in grades 5K through fifth grade are learning leadership skills in Cub Scout packs.

The packs are part of the Scoutreach Division of the Boy Scouts of America, which provides special emphasis to urban and rural Scouting programs. Funding for Scoutreach in Hartsville is underwritten by Sonoco Products Compay. The program is implemented by the Pee Dee Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the TEACH Foundation, which oversees the Comer School Development Program in four Hartsville elementary schools where the packs reside.

Since September 2013, the young boys meet at Southside Early Childhood Center, Thornwell School for the Arts, Washington Street and West Hartsville elementary schools where they learn scouting values and skills set forth in scouting.

Each school focuses on a difference grade levels. There are Tiger Cubs from the first grade and Wolves from the second grade at Washington Street. The third grade Bear Cubs are at Thornwell, and the fourth grade class was chosen to participate at West Hartsville. At West Hartsville, the Webelos are now in their second year.

Although the children at Southside are still too young to be Tiger Cubs, they are in a program called Learning for Life, says Sharman Poplava, executive director of the TEACH Foundation. The Learning for Life program teaches the same values as the Cub Scout programs and next year the students can hop right into Scouting. 

Each school has teachers and/or staff that assist the packs as leaders. And in addition to assisting the den leaders, new Scoutreach director Marquita Gaither helps coordinate activities and events.

The funding from Sonoco provides everything the scouts need, Poplava says. Transportation for trips, awards, uniforms and badges are all covered. 

The idea behind the Scoutreach program is to open up a new world for the children who would not likely have participated otherwise. The Scouts earn badges, learn to fold a flag, wear uniforms and learn to be responsible for their own actions, Poplava adds. "We believed the precepts of scouting tie directly to the Comer School Development program being implemented in four elementary schools."

One project that really took off last year was the Community Garden project. The Cub Scouts learned about nutrition and the value of nature. They designed and planted their own garden plots, and grew their own vegetables and /or flowers.

Community leader Nancy Myers spearheaded the project . She recruited a professor from Coker College and a teacher from the Governor’s School for Science and Math--both partners in the PULSE program--to assist with the garden project. Volunteers taught the boys how to grow vegetables, and provided structured activities to include community service, citizenship, responsibility, decision making, hands on recycling, and more.

In short, Scoutreach offers boys activities that enhance their basic school lesson plans and gives them a wider view of the community where they live. It also brings them in touch with the greater community around them, Poplava says.

Pinewood Derby winners announced

2016 event draws crowd

Scoutreach held its 2016 Pinewood Derby on April 28 at St. Luke United Methodist Church. The racing event drew a crowd of more than 100 family members and friends to cheer the boys on.  

The Pinewood Derby is a scouting tradition. Started in 1953, in Manhattan Beach, Calif., the derby was created for scouts too young to participate in the Soapbox Derby, where scouts race inside gravity-powered cars they've built. In a similar fashion, scouts from Pack 542 (Washington Street), Pack 543 (Thornwell) and Pack 544 (West Hartsville) spent a month building the small, wooden race cars in preparation for the big day. With help from parents or scoutleaders, the scouts build the cars from wood, usually pine, plastic wheels and metal axles. 

The den leaders upped the excitement by setting up competition among the schools. Washington Street gathered the most awards winning both first and second places. After the competition, everyone enjoyed a catered dinner.

Recipients included:

  • First place, Ollie Rufus, grade 2, Washington Street, Pack 542
  • Second place, Cameron Grantham, grade 2, Washington Street, Pack 542
  • Third place, Aiyon Royal, grade 5, West Hartsville, Pack 544

Scouting celebrates 106th anniversary

On February 8, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) celebrate its 106-year anniversary. After incorporation by Chicago businessman and publisher, William D. Boyce, a group of public-spirited citizens worked to set up the organization we know today. The BSA is one of the largest youth organizations with more than 2.4 million youth members and nearly one million adult volunteers.

Hartsville schools have more than 115 boys involved in the BSA Scoutreach program locally. Scoutreach provides special emphasis to urban and rural scouting programs and is implemented as an on-site after-school program. Funding for Scoutreach is underwritten by Sonoco Products Company. The program is administered by the Pee Dee Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the TEACH Foundation, which oversees the Comer School Development Program (SDP) in four Hartsville elementary schools where the packs reside.

The purpose of the Scoutreach program in Hartsville is to support the Comer SDP precepts of child development which align with the BSA goals to build character in young boys and young adults, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness.

Since the program was implemented in 2011, a total of 358 young boys at Washington Street, West Hartsville, Southside Early Childhood Center and Thornwell School for the Arts have enjoyed educational activities and been taught lifelong values combined with fun.

In the 2015-16 school year, the program boasts 115 young boys comprising BSA troops 500, 542, 543 and 544. Each school focuses on a difference grade level. There are Tiger Cubs from the first grade and Wolves from the second grade at Washington Street. The third grade Bear Cubs are at Thornwell and the fourth grade Webelos are at West Hartsville. Although Southside students are too young to be Tiger Cubs, they participate in BSA Learning for Life which promotes the came BSA values. Read more about Scoutreach.

Scoutreach is one of the many ways Partners For Unparalleled Local Scholastic Excellence (PULSE) is preparing our children for the future.  

Garden at Thornwell School for the Arts reflects community involvement

Project is co-managed by Scoutreach and the Hartsville Community Garden

Civic minded community members shared their resources to help Thornwell School for the Arts create its own garden. Nancy Myers, overseer of the non-profit Hartsville Community Garden worked closely with the TEACH Foundation to apply for a grant to start the garden.

The grant was given by Whole Foods in partnership with FoodCorps-USA of the Whole Kids Foundation. The $2,000 in funding enabled the school to creat the garden. It is being managed by Scoutreach students at Thornwell in conjunction with the Hartsville Community Garden. St. Luke Methodist Church also stepped in to provide the dirt plots the students are using to grow crops as they learn about gardening and generating food sources. 

Scoutreach troops have busy end to 2015

Month features several key events

Scoutreach troops 500, 542, 543 and 544 were busy during the month of December 2015. They celebrated by participating in numerous events as part of Good Citizen Month. 

On Dec. 10, more than 200 family and friends celebrated Scoutreach achievements at the annual banquet on Thursday. The banquet's theme, A Lady and A Scout, focused on the important role mothers play in their sons’ lives. Scouts wore their uniforms and mothers were dressed in long dresses. The scouts escorted the mothers in a grand march to begin the night's events. Admission to the banquet was a new toy to be donated to the Toys For Tots Christmas program. The scouts collected over 100 toys.

To earn the Community Service belt loop, scouts had to provide a service that shows how the actions of one individual or group of individuals can have a positive effect on a community. Any scout who donated a toy earned a Community Service belt loop. 

The banquet also featured other Scout recognitions, dinner and dancing. 

On Dec. 12, the scouts participated in the Hartsville Christmas Parade. Scouts rode together, and waved to the crowd as they threw candy to observers.

On Dec. 15, scouts met Hartsville city manager, Natalie Zeigler, who explained how city government works. She commented on how impressed she was with their many community activities.

Scouts recognized for achievements

2014-15 year-end Scoutreach banquet draws crowd

Family and friends celebrated the 3rd annual Scoutreach year-end banquet on Thursday, May 7, at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Hartsville. A total of 31 scouts representing Southside Early Childhood Center (Pack 500), Washington Street Elementary (Pack 542), Thornwell School for the Arts (Pack 543), and West Hartsville Elementary (Pack 544) were recognized for their achievements during the 2014-15 school year.

Scoutreach is a program of the Boy Scouts of America, which is based on values, learning by doing and interacting with fun and positive role models. All scouts received a certificate of accomplishment for completing the year. Southside 4K and 5K students participate in the Scoutreach Learning for Life Program, which teaches the same values as the Cub Scout program for older boys. Den leaders, Jarwon Lucas and Chyrstal Taylor presented the Student of the Year award to Brayden Little. Maleek McCall received the Most Achieved award.

The Washington Street Cub Scout program presented the Scout of the Year award to Zechariah Brown. Dereon Rufus and Jeremiah James tied for the Most Achieved award.

Thornwell School for the Arts recognized Toney Cotton as the Scout of the Year. Logan Dilley and Sam Johnson tied for Most Achieved.

Showing school pride, West Hartsville had the most scouts in attendance. Den leader, Jaron Sanders proudly recognized each member of Pack 544. Fourth grader Timothy Webb was recognized for completing all the Webelos handbook pin requirements. Fifth grader Ken Dix was awarded the Past Scout of the Month award because he always remembered to wear his uniform on scout day.

“Scout Nathan Tolson is highly respectful and always represents scouts well. He also befriends everyone, he isn’t afraid to mingle and have fun,” says Sanders.

The banquet also served as a graduation for older scouts. “Scouts Johnny Flores-Perez and Reginald Cabbagestalk are leaving West Hartsville to go on to Hartsville Middle School, but have truly left a lasting impression and example for the all the rising fourth grade scouts. Clifton Davis and Robert Scott are also heading on to the middle school. They are truly the kind of scout every leader needs. They follow directions, always use their manners and are highly family oriented. They also encourage other scouts to do their best and not be afraid to try,” says Sanders.

After the ceremony the scouts played games and enjoyed the bounce house.

Coker College basketball team hosts clinics for Scoutreach troops

Scouts practice drills, moves and techniques

Over 60 boys in Scoutreach troops 542 (Washington St.), 543 (Thornwell) and 544 (West Hartsville) participated in a basketball clinic. Each troop spent one hour with the team and coaches at the Harris E. and Louise H. DeLoach Center at Coker College.

Dan Schmotzer, men’s basketball coach and Aric Samuel, assistant men’s basketball coach, gave the boys a tour of the athletic facility. Schmotzer encouraged the scouts to focus on staying in school and getting an education. “That’s your job,” stressed Coach Schmotzer. “These players have a job, too. They have to get good grades to stay on the team.”

Each scout was paired up with a Cobra basketball player and practiced throwing, passing and running with the ball. At the end of the practice the boys used the techniques they learned by playing a game on the college court.

Schmotzer said the clinic was a blast. "The gym was loud and full of excitement. It was just so amazing for the scouts and players alike." 

Scouts earn a basketball belt loop for fulfilling the requirements of the clinic. See more photos on the Coker Web site