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.  

Mentors and mentees celebrate a successful year

May 2015

Mentors, mentees and family members joined together to celebrate the end of a successful year for the PULSE mentor program. The event was held at the Hartsville skating rink at the end of May. Darlington County School District PULSE facilitator, Justin Dunham, began the evening by recognizing mentors for their dedication and commitment to the students. He told a short story about each mentor noting that many including Jada Gore, James Hudson, Natalie Zeigler and Blair Bryan had been involved with the program since its inception in 2012. Mentor school coordinators, Raven Legette, Thornwell School for the Arts; Anita Brown, Southside Early Childhood Center; Jarriel Jacobs, Washington Street; and Pierre Brown, West Hartsville presented each volunteer with a PULSE mentor t-shirt and gift bag.

Dunham thanked parents for allowing their children to participate in this special program, and shared a personal account of what mentoring has meant to him. He introduced one of his own mentees and showed how the two of them share a secret handshake. “This is something just between us. We do this handshake every time we get together,” he explained.

Mentors stood proudly beside their mentees as Dunham called each student by name and presented them with completion certificates. In addition, students got to select a gift from a table of puzzles, games and books chosen to encourage summer learning.

Following the awards ceremony and a quick meal, the students hit the rink and enjoyed skating for the remainder of the evening.

Two Comer schools recognize students with all-A report cards

Thornwell and West Hartsville celebrate academic accomplishments


Thornwell School for the Arts (TSA) and West Hartsville (WHE) held completion ceremonies for grade 5 students on Thurs., May 28.

Nearly 350 family members came to support students as TSA graduated 77 students at the Center Theater. The school's choir performed a song, and Darlington County School District coordinator of k-12 ELA and Social Studies, Marthew Ferguson, was the guest speaker. Hartsville Rotary presented checks to Amiyah Adams (valedictorian) and Laila McDaniel (salutatorian) for making all As from grade 1-5.

As WHE graduated 81 in the school auditorium, nearly 300 family members attended the celebration. Rotary presented a check recognizing Kristyn Anders (valedictorian) for making all As for five consecutive years.

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

Scoutreach packs go horseback riding

Boys earn belt loop for endeavors

October was an exciting month for Scoutreach pack members. The four packs from the Comer schools each spent a day at Tally Ho Equestrian Center in Timmonsville, SC. They included:

  • Pack 542- Washington Street Elementary
  • Pack 543- Thornwell School for the Arts
  • Pack 544- West Hartsville Elementary
  • Learning for Life Group 500- Southside Early Childhood Center

The children learned many new skills that align with the Comer developmental pathways. They used the physical and cognitive pathways when receiving instructions how to ride. They used the ethical pathway as they learned several ways to care for a horse before, during and after riding. They exercised the social pathway, sharing an adventure with their friends, adult leaders and riding instructors. They also used the language and cognitive pathways, learning safety rules and hand signals to communicate with the horses. Some scouts were brave enough to ride without a lead.

Scouts that participated earned belt loops for horseback riding, presented at the November Scoutreach banquet.