S.C. Lt. Governor tours PALM Charter High School

S.C. Lt. Governor tours PALM Charter High School

Originally published by WMBF News, April 30, 2024

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – South Carolina’s second in command praised a Grand Strand school for setting its students up for success in the workforce. 

Lt. Governor Pamela Evette toured the PALM Charter High School in Conway on Tuesday and spoke with students and teachers about the hands-on experience kids receive. 

The school has a unique curriculum centered around motorsports and life skills and Evette said the school is a great example for the students to learn all the the careers out there. 

“There are some kids that just do better hands-on, and I think you know as a country we overcorrected years ago, a 4-year college degree is not the only path to success and we see that,” she said.

Evette added that careers outside the college degree tract are lucrative for those pursuing that route. 

“We see it from carpenters to HVAC workers and electricians and plumbers, these are great careers. Those people are making a lot of money doing what they love to do and it didn’t require going to get a four-year degree.”

Evette told WMBF News she is rolling out a new initiative Wednesday with the state’s Department of Employment and Workforce to help boost youth employment.

Lt. Gov Evette visits Grand Strand charter school to see how they support trade careers

Lt. Gov Evette visits Grand Strand charter school to see how they support trade careers

Originally published by ABC 15 News on April 30th, 2024 by Connor Ingalls

CONWAY, S.C. (WPDE) — South Carolina Lt. Governor Pamela Evette made a stop along the Grand Strand Tuesday to see how a local school is preparing students to enter the workforce.

She got a tour of PALM Charter High School in Conway, where students get hands-on experience with skills that translate to several mechanical and trade jobs.

Evette said she and Gov. Henry McMaster believe career paths like these are crucial for South Carolina’s future and economy.

“I’m just in awe you know,” Evette said of her first visit to the school. “This charter school is amazing, and it’s what I talk about, it’s what the governor talks about, how do we get our kids to understand all the amazing careers that are out there? And they’ve really tapped into this and I can think of industries all across our state that would be excited to see what’s happening here at PALM Charter.”

To learn more about PALM Charter High School, click here.

The National Lieutenant Governors Association donates 100 STEM toys to the YMCA of Coastal Carolina

The National Lieutenant Governors Association donates 100 STEM toys to the YMCA of Coastal Carolina

Originally published April 25, 2024 by the YMCA of Coastal Carolina

The YMCA of Coastal Carolina was the proud recipient of the NLGA STEM Service Project donations at the National Lieutenant Governors Association Spring Meeting.  

David Byrd, Chief Executive Officer for the YMCA of Coastal Carolina thanked the NLGA participants and said, “STEM is a big part of our future. Our YMCAs across the United States and particularly here in South Carolina, focus heavily on STEM. I see it everyday with our kids and our families. We are honored today to receive this gift of 100 STEM toys.” 

Sponsored by BMW Manufacturing Co, NLGA Members wrapped and donated 100 STEM-related toys to the YMCA of Coastal Carolina to give to kids in our programs.  As of April 1, 2024, more than 450 youth in six states or territories have STEM opportunity as a direct result of NLGA Members meeting and working together.

“Getting our kids involved and engaged with STEM is so important to developing the workforce of tomorrow” said Lt. Governor Pamela Evette. “We are thankful to BMW for their support and the YMCA of Coastal Carolina for providing hands-on learning experiences throughout the school year and during the summers — allowing parents to get to work and helping our kids to thrive.”

YMCA Afterschool and Summer Camp programs incorporate STEM, literacy, academic support, and physical activity into the daily schedules. Evidence shows that providing out-of-school time (OST) learning directly impacts what is possible to learn inside classrooms — just as what happens in classrooms impacts OST learning.

Hatton Gravely, Chief Development Officer for the YMCA of Coastal Carolina, adds, “Kids learn through play, and these STEM toys will enhance what the kids are learning in school and at the Y in programs. We are so grateful to be selected by the NLGA for this wonderful gift!”

Evette hosts annual lieutenant governor’s conference in Myrtle Beach

Evette hosts annual lieutenant governor’s conference in Myrtle Beach

Originally posted by WBTW News 13, April 24, 2024 by Jackie LiBrizzi

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – Wednesday marked Day 1 of a three-day conference for the National Lieutenant Governors Association’s spring meeting in Myrtle Beach. 

This year’s conference was hosted by South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette at the Marriott Myrtle Beach at Grande Dunes. 

The annual meeting was first organized by the nonprofit in 1962 with a mission to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of the office and government. National leaders met Wednesday to share ideas and solutions. 

Currently, South Carolina isn’t just the fastest growing state in the nation — it’s also a top-eight leader in ports, tourism and military. 

14 U.S. lieutenant governors were in attendance along with the lieutenant governor for Guam and the Secretary of State for Puerto Rico.

During the meeting, the chief financial officer for the state’s ports authority, Phil Padgett, said Charleston’s port is one of the busiest and most important ports in North America. He said it’s because of supply chain and trade.

Padgett said more than $3 billion has gone into capital investment in the last 15 years. He said that includes terminal capacity, transportation improvements, and import and exporting infrastructure.

He also discussed strategic priorities.

“A technical term us employees use, we liked to call it ‘sticky cargo,’ and what that means is the customer has to call our port, so we really want to create an environment where they have to come,” Padgett said. “We deliver critical infrastructure, and I’m sure you’ve seen this across the country, cranes, additional war space, maybe in passing.”

Many discussions were about “an eye to the future.” Padgett said growth rates are up and that means revenues are too.

Another state official who spoke during Wednesday’s meeting was Duane Parrish, South Carolina’s Director of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.

Parrish said currently, South Carolina is the seventh-most visited state in the country. He said they started a grant program called “Undiscovered South Carolina” and since then, there’s been more than 6 million trips.

Parrish talked about the top trends he’s seen in our state parks.

“Our state parks, we have 47, we will add six more to what is already there. And maybe another five in another 12-14 months. State Park revenue is up 6.3% from the previous year,” he said. “Our state park numbers have doubled since pre-COVID, and that’s with the same number of parks. People have come in our recreation, boating, and you mark it back to COVID, it’s hard to find and very expensive.”

Parrish said he’s also noticed a rise in sports tourism. He said it’s now making up 10% of the global tourism industry. 

Maryland Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller was also on a peer panel during Wednesday’s meeting. Miller said around 3 a.m. on March 26, she woke up to a phone call. 

She said a cargo ship the size of the Eiffel Tower collided into their Francis Scott Key Bridge and killed six transportation workers.

Miller said there’s also been a great economic consequence from the collapse, closing the ninth-busiest port in our nation.

She said the annual economic activity of the port of Baltimore is about $70 billion, supporting more than 900 businesses, 8,000 direct jobs, and $140,000 jobs indirect and services. 

Miller said she and her governor meet with officials three times a week for updates and to strategize. She said so far, she’s attended three wakes and funerals. 

“I ask that you please continue to keep the victim’s families, our first responders, and the men and women who are working each and every single day courageously at our site to remove the wreckage.”

Miller said they’ll continue to grieve together, stand together and pray together.

Lt. Gov. Evette addresses students during 3rd annual event at the S.C. State House

Lt. Gov. Evette addresses students during 3rd annual event at the S.C. State House

Originally published by ABC 25 Columbia, by Lee Williams, April 9, 2024

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Students from 30 different colleges and universities across South Carolina were recognized at the Statehouse Tuesday afternoon for the 3rd Annual Higher Education Day.

The event honors students currently working on their degrees while also encouraging young high schoolers to see attending a college, university, or technical college as a viable path.

Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette addressed the students directly, saying, “Continue to dream big. When you dream big, the sky is the limit for you. Anytime I talk to students I like to say what my dad told me and my 3 older brothers. Always work hard, do good, and aim higher, and we will continue to set our state on a path that we could never even dream of.”

Evette says when she came into her position six years ago, only 41% of South Carolinians held a secondary degree. But as Dr. Gregory Little with the SC Commission on Higher Education explains, affordability efforts by the General Assembly aim to see more youth choose higher education.

“For example in the fiscal year 2021-2022 budget, South Carolina increased need based grants from $20 million to $60 million. And doubled tuition grants from $10 million to $20 million. Need based grant funding increased to $70 million in 22-23 and to $80 million in 23-24,” Little says.

Claflin University Senior Erin Thomas says school provides her with the opportunity to chase her dream of being an OBGYN.

“I’m really interested in women’s health, and I know that it’s very prone that we have a lot of different diseases that creep up on us, so I want to keep them engaged, keep them inspired and keep them educated on different things so they can keep themselves healthy and bare the longevity,” says Thomas.

Allen University’s Student President Preston Conner, Jr. says he wants to be a member of the secret service one day. School, he says, will help him reach that goal.

“I feel like education plays a major role in your life. Because without an education you’re limited about stuff you can do. People with an education have a better chance of getting a job, have a better background and something to put on their resume; have more experience,” says Conner.

And Benedict College Sophomore Kenly Rouse is a psychology major. His message to high schoolers?

“Take your time, weigh out all of your options. The sky is the limit. Don’t rush it. Just breathe, be patient and put God first in everything you do,” Rouse says.

Speakers also encouraged students to remain in South Carolina after graduation and help strengthen our state. Around 238,000 students attend 75 higher education institutions across South Carolina.

Recovery from substance abuse brings hope to SC college students

Recovery from substance abuse brings hope to SC college students

By Lauren Larsen | Apr 4, 2024, Carolina News & Reporter

USC senior Hunter Welch said dropping out of college to get treatment for substance abuse was extremely difficult. But looking back, he is grateful.

“That was, at the time, probably the most devastating moment in my life, because I felt like I was admitting that I could not do this,” Welch said. “And now I see it as the key to the life I have today.”

Gamecock Recovery hosted the state’s second annual collegiate recovery day event Tuesday to support students in recovery from substance abuse.

Students and staff from across South Carolina gathered at the Statehouse for the awareness event. 

After straying away from the recovery community, Welch said he did a lot of self-exploration but realized how much recovery was a part of his identity.

“I found so much home and acceptance in the recovery community,” Welch said. “I didn’t realize how important it was until I lost it.”

Raylyn Garner, a graduate assistant for Gamecock Recovery, stressed the importance of government officials to advocate and support recovery.

S.C. Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette read a proclamation signed by Gov. Henry McMaster declaring April 15, 2024, as Collegiate Recovery Day throughout the state.

“Collegiate Recovery Day provides an opportunity to increase awareness and understanding of substance use disorders and to show respect and support for those in recovery, as well as those who have helped them obtain recovery this day and throughout the year,” Evette said.

Garner said data shows that 5% of college students identify as being in recovery. That turns out to be a lot of students at a large school like USC.

“Today, we can ensure that the message of recovery is loud and clear, a message that says you’re not alone, you’re supported and your journey matters, ” Garner said.

Recovery communities and organizations on campuses enhance students’ overall physical and emotional well being, Evette said.

Ten colleges in the state were in attendance and had students in recovery speak. Representatives from S.C. Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS), Lutheran Services Carolina and the Catawba Tribe also attended.

Since the recovery day celebration last year, S.C. State University and Columbia College have added Collegiate Recovery Programs.

Wood Marchant, director of the College of Charleston’s program, said that when he graduated college almost 30 years ago, he wouldn’t believe he was back on campus running a program for sober college students. But he finds the experience rewarding for both him and others.

“The journeys the students go on to get to graduation are incredibly inspirational,” Marchant said. “And I get a front-row seat to see people who have totally and completely changed their lives.”

Students from different universities also shared their stories.

Clemson senior Joe Ogg thought college was about partying, drugs and alcohol. But they began to consume his life, he said. For a while, it seemed like his peers were having the same experience, and it took him a while to accept they weren’t.

After rehab, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and sober living, he was scared of going back to college and not having a place to fit in.

“Going into the (on-campus) meeting and looking around and seeing a room of college students that were having the same experience as me was monumental for me, sustaining my sobriety,” Ogg said.

Allen University senior Marvin Williams said being able to attend a university with the Collegiate Recovery Program has given him and his peers a place to express themselves without judgment or feeling alone. He said the program has given him a sense of belonging and support in his college community.

Gavrielle Jacobson, an intern for Gamecock Recovery and first-year graduate student, thanked faculty, staff and administrators who run these programs for helping students in their recovery journey.

“Their dedication to this cause not only transforms the lives of students but also contributes to the overall well- being and success of our campus communities,” Jacobson said.

Aimee Hourigan, director of substance abuse prevention and education at USC, said she wants people to know that recovery is fun and makes life better. And she said there are different ways to figure out what works for you.

Speakers at the event repeatedly expressed the resilience it takes to be in recovery and why it’s worth celebrating. 

“Collectively, we are building more resilient individuals, more resilient communities … and a more resilient and strong South Carolina,” said Sara Goldsby, Director of DAODAS. “It’s something to honor and something to celebrate as we shift culture in this state to recognize and celebrate the power of recovery.”

SC state leaders stress importance of not littering

SC state leaders stress importance of not littering

Originally published Apr 3, 2024 by Alex Tejada, ABC Columbia

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — You might think tossing trash on the side of the road is not a big deal but South Carolina littering laws could mean you end up with a fine or worse. 

Tuesday at the statehouse, Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette, along with Palmetto Pride and the South Carolina Litter Control Association, kicked off a zero tolerance for litter campaign for the month of April.

“Just don’t throw your trash where it doesn’t belong. That’s the easiest solution to most of life’s problems,” said Sarah Lyles, director of Palmetto Pride. “If it’s a big problem, don’t just throw it on the ground. Put it in a trash can or recycle it.”

Tuesday, state leaders kicked off a zero tolerance for litter campaign. Litter can pollute South Carolina’s soil and water as well as impact the environment in other ways.

“In South Carolina, we have flooding issues. When we have people litter and illegally dump, it fills in storm drains,” Lyles said. “We’re a southern state so we have waters flowing from other states. We have stormwater runoff that can clog storm drains and cause flooding. We see that in South Carolina.”

The Department of Public Safety also sees the harm that litter can cause on the roadways.

“It also can be a safety hazard,” said Col. Dean Dill. “Over 730 people get killed nationally a year because of objects in the roadway and 17,000 get injured.”

You might think that littering only trashes the community, but it can also land you in quite a bit of legal trouble depending on the offense.

“The worse the crime, the higher the fine and jail time,” Lyles said. “We also have mandatory community service. Officers and judges are allowed to give litter pickup for community service hours. We can assign roads and give them the supplies to do it and clean up.”

So if you throw trash, you might find yourself picking it back up, as well as paying a fine of anywhere from $25 to up to a $1,000

“Enforcement is always there to meet a goal.” Dill said. “It’s to keep people safe and gain compliance. That’s what we’re there for.”

If you are interested in helping clean up your community through a trash pickup, find out how to get involved or attend a specific event.

Ghana Association Celebrates 67th Independence in South Carolina with Keynote by Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette

Ghana Association Celebrates 67th Independence in South Carolina with Keynote by Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette

Original Posted in The Humanity Herald on March 25 2024

Spartanburg, SC – The Ghana Association of the Upstate SC marked Ghana’s 67th Independence Day with an event showcasing the rich cultural heritage and vibrant spirit of the Ghanaian community in South Carolina. Held on March 23, 2024, at the Cleveland Park Event Center, the celebration drew esteemed guests, including the Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina, Pamela Sue Evette, who delivered an inspiring keynote address.

The event began with drums welcoming guests to a cocktail hour. Guests were invited into the event hall after the initial hour of networking. After an opening prayer by Rev. Amos Durham of the Spartanburg Sheriff’s Office, the audience received a warm welcome from Spartanburg Mayor Pro Tem Janie Salley.

With Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, EVP & Chief Legal Officer Duke Energy Corporation, as the Chairperson of the evening, the event was not just a tribute to Ghana’s independence but also a vivid showcase of the enduring ties and cultural exchange between Ghana and the United States. Through gatherings like this, the Ghanaian community in South Carolina continues to foster a deeper appreciation for their heritage while contributing richly to the multicultural diversity of the region.

In addition to the Lieutenant Governors keynote which highlighted her experience as the descendant of Polish immigrants, the event included dance performances from the Gye Nyame Cultural Ensemble, poetry recitals, the singing of both national anthems, cultural displays, authentic Ghanaian meals, music, dancing, fundraising, and laughter.

The evening was captivating and memorable. The celebration showcased a variety of dishes cooked by individuals of Ghanaian heritage from the Upstate area, allowing guests to savor authentic Ghanaian cuisine. The food display included jollof rice, waakye, kenkey, fufu, soup, chicken, salmon, salads, rock buns, plantain chips, and more. The colorful kente themed food display table also included authentic Ghanaian drinks such as sobolo and ekumfi juice. The peanut cake/brizzle provided by Rosemond Owens of Minnesota was a popular dessert item.

The event planning committee, including Abby Solomon – Azumah, Charles Agyeman, Nat Buah-Kwofie, Reverend Jefferson Crystal, and Ben Azumah, played a crucial role in the smooth execution of the event, coordinating everything from volunteer efforts to food delivery, setup, and cleanup.

The event was spearheaded by the dynamic Ghanaian American author and Spartanburg resident, Marjorie Boafo Appiah, also known as Marjy Marj. Her centerpieces adorned with Ghanaian woodwork added an artistic flair to the tables. Marjy’s meticulous attention to detail was evident in the decorated hall, featuring floral arrangements from Coggins Flowers, and serving utensils from Event Rentals, Spartanburg, creating an ambiance that was both elegant and welcoming. As the author of ‘The Jollof Project’ a book based on two Spartanburg fourth graders who embarked on a cooking competition, Marjy cooked her jollof recipe (among other dishes) for the guests.

The balloon decor, created by Angela Butler of Spartanburg, included Ghana-themed elements adding a patriotic touch to the setting. The backdrop of the flags of the United States and Ghana, framing the podium captured the spirit of love for both countries.

In attendance were reporters from Fox News, covering the celebration and its significance to the local and broader community. Attendees included representatives from the African-American and African communities, Duke Energy, BMW, City and State Officials, Furman University, the community at large, and several benefactors.

Photography was provided by Jeremiah Drummond of South Carolina, ensuring the event’s vibrancy and exuberance were preserved. The music was provided by DJ Master Berto.

The Ghanaian Association of Upstate South Carolina is a social  association of Ghanaians, people of Ghanaian descent, and friends of  Ghana residing in the state of South Carolina and surrounding towns  and suburbs.

Subsequent independence and cultural commemorations continue around the country. Another celebration is scheduled to take place in Columbia, South Carolina on March 30th.

Photo Credit: Jeremiah Drummond.