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

Charleston Symphony Orchestra to visit Hartsville schools

Jan. 21 event to include community concert

The Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is coming January 21 to perform at local Hartsville schools to promote the arts and encourage students to engage in the creativity of music. Each session is designed to show students how music can tell a story using instruments, melody and rhythm. The CSO musicians include those from string, woodwind, brass and percussion sections. 

A community concert will conclude the day's events, all sponsored by the Sonoco Foundation. The public is invited to attend.

1) 11:00-11:40 AM
Hartsville Middle School, grades 6-8
40-minute Woodwind Quartet performance 

2) 11:00-11:40 AM
Hartsville High School, grades 9-12
40-minute Woodwind Quintet performance 

3) 11:00-11:40 AM
Hartsville High School, grades 9-12
40-minute String Quartet 2 performance

4) 11:00 AM-11:30 AM
A Kidz Place Day Care, Pre-K
30-minute Percussion Duo performance 

5) 1:00 PM-1:30 PM
Southside Early Childhood Education Center, 4-5K
Approximately 30-minute Percussion Duo performance

6) 1:00 PM-1:40 PM
Hartsville Middle School, grades 6-8
40-minute String Quartet 1 performance

7) 12:50-1:30 PM and1:40-2:20 PM
West Hartsville Elementary,grades 5-6
Two back-to-back, 40-minute Woodwind Quintet performances with 10-minute break

6) 1:00-1:40 PM
North Hartsville Elementary, grades 3-5
40-minute Brass Quintet performance

7) 1:00-1:40 PM
Carolina Elementary, grades 3-5
40-minute Woodwind Quartet performance

8) 12:45-1:35 PM and 1:40-2:20 PM (dismissal at 2:25)
Thornwell Elementary, grades 1-5
Two back-to-back, 40-minute String Quartet 2 performances with 10-minute break 

7:00 PM-8:00 PM, Free community concert
Coker College, Watson Theatr

Featuring the String Quartet 1 and Brass Quintet 

ALO engineering students visit Sonoco's biomass boiler

Putting classroom activity into real-world experience

Seven Hartsville High School students in PULSE Accelerated Learning Opportunities (ALO) engineering and AP Calculus classes finished the 2014-15 school year with a visit to Sonoco's biomass boiler facility. The $75 million boiler was part of a $100 million investment in the company's Hartsville, S.C., complex.  

Sonoco engineer David Rhodes, who was one of 15 guest speakers to visit the ALO engineering class, organized the trip and gave the students an inside look at the boiler, which is fueled mostly by woody material from regional logging, but can also run on natural gas. Touted as a technological advancement that helps business grow and succeed, the boiler can produce 16 megawatts of green energy and steam, both of which are used at the Hartsville complex.

ALO instructor, Dr. Jerome Reyes, explained that the trip to Sonoco allowed students to reflect on what they learned about engineering throughout the year, and see it in action firsthand. "Touring Sonoco's facility and conversing with multiple engineers about high level concepts like design and construction, to engineering details such as power efficiency ratings and dimensional analysis suddenly made everything we've done all year real for our students."

Engineering student Christopher Rhodes noted, “The trip was invaluable. It allowed me to experience real applications of an engineering degree. I was able to see what an engineering job setting could look like, and it gave me a new respect for everything we discussed in class.”

Similarly impressed was engineering student Rubaiya Anika. She was suprised to learn that such sophisticated engineering facilities and related job opportunities were available in the small town of Hartsville. "I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet engineers and ask them questions," she said. "I now have a newfound desire to embrace our community more.”

After the tour, Sarah Smith, a freshman engineering student, commented, “Seeing the company, and talking to the engineers that work there, has made an impact on the career path I’ll likely take.” She was decidedly impressed by the design and operation of the biomass machinery. Smith added that she wants to pursue future opportunities for an internship at Sonoco based on her experiences at the company.

Dr. Reyes said one of the most rewarding aspects of the field trip was listening to the engineering students have intelligent conversations with the engineers on site. "This is what the PULSE ALO program is all about. We are offering students the opportunity to enhance regular academic requirements with challenging, thought-provoking course work. Their reaction after the trip to the biomass boiler clearly illustrated how far the students had come since the start of class in August."

Reyes added that the trip left the students with one resounding message: as much as they learned about engineering this year, they realize they have only scratched the surface. "Opportunities like these combined with a genuine thirst for knowledge will catapult these students to successful careers in engineering," he said.

West Hartsville Elementary starts recycling program

Joins city of Hartsville in recycling efforts

Students at West Hartsville Elementary School rallied around three new Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle. During an assembly, Jane Hiller, education specialist for Sonoco Recycling, spoke to students about the importance of being good environmental stewards, how to recycle and what can be recycled. The opportunity to participate was sponsored as a service project by the school's Beta Club, which boasts a membership of approximately 15 children.

Hiller provided background into why it's important to recycle and reduce waste whenever possible. She brought samples of both recyclable and non-recyclable materials, and provided some detailed instructions on preparing materials for recycling. 

Also at the assembly was Hartsville city manager Natalie Zeigler, who officially welcomed West Hartsville to the city's program. Although outside the city limits, Zeigler said the city is pleased to include West Hartsville in the program.

West Hartsville joins two other Comer schools in the city's recycling program: Washington Street and Thornwell School for the Arts. Southside Early Childhood Center will join in the future.

For more information on the recycling program in Hartsville, or to obtain blue roll carts for recyclable materials call the environmental services dept., 843-383-3019.