Due to COVID-19, the Conway Chamber of Commerce’s Educational Programs Committee made the tough decision to cancel its annual Salute to Education luncheon, honoring the area’s top seniors.
“We’re very, very sad we could not hold the Salute to Education in person,” said Becky Hubbard, the vice president for education programs, and chair of the Educational Programs Committee.
Usually each student is interviewed to determine who will win a scholarship from the Chamber, but this year, Hubbard said the students were asked to submit videos.
There is another different twist this year, Hubbard said, in that they will be giving two scholarships.
“We decided that since we didn’t have to put on the banquet, we would take some extra monies and do a second scholarship,” Hubbard said.
“That’s something we wanted to do for a long time, but we had not had the funds to do that. I hope in the future we can pick up some additional sponsors who might help us to continue.”
The winning seniors will be announced May 27, with the first-place winner receiving a $1,000 scholarship, and the second-place winner receiving $500.
Instead of the usual luncheon with a guest speaker, where each student got a chance to speak and honor their choice for their most inspirational teacher, the Chamber has set up a virtual salute on its website at www.conwaychamber.com and is featuring two seniors a day on its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/conwaychamber/.
Students honored this year, and just some of their many accomplishments, are:
Rafael Adi, of the Academy of Art, Science and Technology, whose accolades include being a semifinalist for the U.S. Senate Youth Scholarship Program, an AP Scholar, and a National Society of High School Scholars. He served as student body president and secretary, and was the CFHS Varsity Boys Swim Team captain.
Dasia Caldwell, of the Academy of Technology and Academics, who serves on the National Honor Society, BETA Club, and on the “A” Honor Roll, and has served as a Pre-Med representative for ATA, and an intern at Loris McLeod Hospital, and a JROTC participant.
Faith Davis, of Aynor High School, whose accolades include being the Distinguished Young Women of South Carolina 2020, Student of the Year five times, and a Presidential Scholar nominee. She also serves in numerous clubs, and is the President of the Beta Club.
Kaitlyn Kulick, of Carolina Forest High School, is ranked 17th in her class out of 485 students and is a Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Recipient, and took 8 AP classes throughout high school. She also serves on student council, National Honor Society, and other clubs.
Jacob Bowers, of Conway Christian School, is a Lander Junior Fellow, a Presbyterian College Junior Fellow, and a University of South Carolina Upstate junior scholar. He also serves on the National Honor Society, National BETA Club, and is the CCS Football and Baseball team captain and Student Government President.
Chloe Cribb, of Conway High School, serves on the National Honor Society, as well as the Science, Spanish, English, and Math Honors Societies. She served as Student Body President and was Editor in Chief of the yearbook, as well as on the School Improvement Council.
Grace Elliott, of Green Sea Floyds High School, served on the National Honor Society, Beta Club and Math Club, Student Council, and is on the “All A” honor roll. She also participated in varsity volleyball and softball, and served as the yearbook editor.
Stephen Campbell, of Early College High School, is an honor roll student who is on the Horry-Georgetown Technical College President’s List. He serves in Mu Alpha Theta and the National Honor Society. He is also a student ambassador for ECHS, on Student Council, and a variety of extracurricular clubs.
Jacob Black, of Loris High School, was recognized as the Loris Chamber of Commerce 2019 Most Outstanding Youth, and LHS’ Most Outstanding Senior. He is involved in the National Honor Society, Junior and Senior Beta Club, and Team Captain for both the baseball and football teams.
Tommy Riga, of Myrtle Beach High School, is an AP Scholar with Distinction, winning first place in Financial Math, and Banking and Financial Systems in the F.B. L.A. Regionals. He is co-captain of the Academic Team and President of both the National Science Honor Society and the BETA Club.
Jenna Berger, of North Myrtle Beach High School, is involved in the Youth Leadership Academy, S.C. High School League Student Leadership Summit, as well as the National Beta Club and English Honor Society. She serves on the varsity women’s volleyball, basketball and soccer teams, and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Biruja Dahal, of Scholars Academy, is an AP Scholar with Distinction and a Scholars Academy Distinguished Junior, and honored as a Furman Scholar, Wofford Scholar, and University of South Carolina’s Dean Scholar. She is involved in the National Honor Society, Tech Club, Sketch Club, and Ultimate Frisbee Club.
Laura Infield, of Socastee High School, is a Palmetto Girls State Representative and the SHS Senior Class President. She is also involved in the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and Beta Club. She served on the varsity cheer squad, Student Council, and Teacher Cadets.
Thomas Young, of St. James High School, is a National Merit Finalist and AP Scholar. He is captain of the varsity swimming team and varsity soccer team.
Find out even more about these honorees by visiting the Chamber’s sites above.
Inspirational teachers this year were Katherine Thompson, the Academy of Art, Science and Technology; Teresa Nirenstein, the Academy of Technology and Academics; Miss Lewis, Aynor High School; Toni McDowell, Carolina Forest High School; Chris Von Cannon, Conway Christian School; Kyle Chandler, Conway High School; Amy Gore, Green Sea Floyds High School; William Chappell, Early College High School; Danny McPherson, Loris High School; Sarah Merli, Myrtle Beach High School; Cathy Threatt, North Myrtle Beach High School; Jennifer Zhang, Scholars Academy; Laura Infield, Socastee High School; and Thomas Young, St. James High School.
Hubbard said the Chamber is grateful for all its sponsors did to help this year.
“I want to thank and celebrate our sponsors,” she said. “Without them, this wouldn’t be possible.”
Sponsors this year are Carolina Trust Credit Union, Coastal Carolina National Bank, Coastal Carolina University, Conway Air Conditioning, Conway Medical Center, Horry Electric Cooperative, Myrtle Beach International Airport, Santee Cooper, The Conway National Bank, The Ranking Company, Bradham Insurance, Carolina Cool, Inc, Carolina Forest High School, Conway Manor LLC, Elliott Realty, Inc., Horry County School District, Peoples Underwriters, Inc., Sansbury Butler Properties LLC, State Farm – Jackie L. Stokes and The Medicine Mart.