Your Source For District News                               September, 2015
For These Seniors, SHS Is Home Away from Home
And...Home is in Handan, China
From left to right, Lisa, Jessica, Linda, Leslie and Paul
Looking every bit like kids who've grown up in America, these teenagers from Handan, China are relative newcomers to the United States, but their leap to Spartanburg High School has been a long time in the making. Through a collaborative venture with the Chinese Culture and Education Center at USC Upstate, these students have been prepping for their senior year in Spartanburg since the 9th grade. Coming from a school district in China with more than 1 million kids and a city with a population of more than 7 million, Dr. Terry Pruitt says the students from Handan Number 1 High School are the first from their school to spend the year in Spartanburg. "Most of the kids have visited us at least once in the last few years and they've all had the opportunity to take classes in China with our own Alison Little who was a teacher in residence there during the 2013-2014 academic year. Their English is quite good and they've all adopted American nicknames to help bridge the language barrier." 
In addition to the four host families that have stepped up to help, Ms. Little serves as the students' advisor. Ms Little said with a smile,  "I feel like I've become a mother to five teenagers overnight. I'm pleased to say that everyone is doing really well,  and doing all the things American teens are doing at this age, like preparing for the ACT and SAT, taking AP courses and getting involved in school clubs and activities. Two are even studying for a driver's license!" 
In the coming months, we will share more about the life and times of our newest seniors - but until then be sure to give a warm Vikings welcome to,  Lisa, (Sigi Lin) Jessica (Renjie Tong), Linda (Nanjie Li), Lesley (Zhoutong Ai) and Paul (Ziziang Ma).
Move Over Publisher's Clearing House - Amazon is in the House!
In a scene that looked like an Oprah Christmas special, teachers and students at Chapman Elementary School squealed with delight
Abbie Briggs with her students
this week when corporate giant, Amazon showed up to shower teachers with more than $15,000 in school supplies. Calling it "backyard philanthropy" at its best, Chapman Principal Eric Mathison said Amazon likes to give back to the communities where their associates live and work. "This came as a complete surprise for us. I don't know who had more fun, the teachers or their students!" For their part, Amazon said giving back is a source of corporate pride. "We are proud to support  teachers who do and give so much to ensure their students are successful." 
District Teacher of the Year is Serious about Fun!
Jeremy Pruett, SHS and D7 Teacher of the Year
Jeremy Pruett says he'd rather be called a teacher of biology than a biology teacher. "I care more about being a teacher and building relationships with my students than being an expert on any given topic." But with 19 years in the classroom and the distinction this year of being voted Spartanburg High School Teacher of the Year AND District 7's Teacher of the Year, Pruett is obviously great at both. "Every year, I tell my kids I'm on their side, and that it's my job to help them find success." Humor, he says, is a great way to connect with students. "I don't mind being silly, even a little crazy - whatever it takes to make science interesting. At the end of the day, what I find is my students are willing to try for me."   Pruett and his wife, Tally, who also teaches at SHS, have two children Hunter, 21, and Faith, 17. When Faith graduates this year, Pruett says, all four members of the family will be Viking alums. "Spartanburg High School is a special place, and has a great sense of community. We work hard Monday thru, what I call, "Fye" Day. My students use the slang word "fye" for being on fire...it's a positive phrase. So, every Friday, instead of paying $1.00 to wear jeans, I wear a suit and tie and call it "Fye"  Day. I want the kids to know that I'm on FIRE (for them) every day of the week!"
Golf Channel Features JBE Student 
Tristan Harrill from Jesse Boyd Elementary School

Tristan Harrill is not your average 4th grader. The 11 year-old Jesse Boyd student is a courageous cancer survivor. He's also a pretty avid golfer and a huge fan of the First Tee program that operates in all of the District's elementary schools. "Tristan is one of those amazing kids who epitomizes the word GRIT," said Fran Dunn, Executive Director of The First Tee of Spartanburg. In fact, when the Golf Channel learned of Tristan's triumph over leukemia (after seven years in treatment) he was selected as one of three young people in the country to be featured in a national TV campaign airing on the Golf Channel . While Tristan concedes he's still got a little work to do on his swing, those who admire his bravery say he's got perseverance down to a tee! 

New Senior Lounge at SHS Gets High Marks!
A Ribbon Cutting Reception
The Stamp of Approval
Sipping on samples of smoothies, Spartanburg High School students got a taste of the new Viking Student Center following the official ribbon cutting for the lounge on Thursday, September 10. Open to all SHS students for breakfast each morning, the rest of the week the Viking Student is reserved for seniors who have a 3.0 GPA. The Viking Student Center, operated by Chartwells, will sell healthy snacks and a variety of lunch options. 
The New Viking Student Center at Spartanburg High School

Smithsonian Museum Director Brings Living History to Carver Middle School

With the help of an expert from the Smithsonian, students from Carver Middle will soon have the chance to peer into the past to better understand what life was like in Spartanburg at the end of the Civil War.

Dr. John Franklin oversees the National Museum of African American Culture in Washington, DC and will be in town on September 23, along with other notable historians to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of slaves in 1865. In addition to his presentation at Carver, Dr. Franklin will be engaged in a two-day program at the Spartanburg Public Library. Topics during the event will include discussions about the end of the war from the viewpoint of Union Soldiers and enslaved African-Americans in Spartanburg who were granted their freedom at the time.
As part of the anniversary event, visitors to the Library will have the opportunity to see a hand-sewn American flag that was crafted by the wife of a Baptist preacher in Spartanburg and carried through the streets of the city at the end of the war. The flag which was located at a museum in California, will be here on display at the main library until September 30th. 
College Bound
Students at the Viking Early College
Students throughout District 7 are sporting their favorite college colors this month as part of the National College Colors Day Campaign. The initiative is a fun way to build the buzz about the start of a new football season while advancing important
conversations about college and career goals.

First Early Release Day is Tomorrow!

Please be sure to mark your calendars for the following Early Release dates. These half-days allow our teachers important time for professional development and collaboration.
Wednesday, September 16
Wednesday, November 18
Wednesday, February 10
Wednesday, April 20
Elementary students will be released at 11:30; middle school students at 12:15 and high school students at 12:30.
In This Issue
Drumroll, Please!
Auditions are underway for the Best Singer in the District - so mark you calendar for the big finale on Saturday, October 3, when District Seven crowns the new Best Singer in the District. The show starts at 6pm in the Spartanburg High School gym. Tickets will be sold at the door.
Meet Our 2015-2016
     Teachers  of the Year

We took our cameras into 
their classrooms!
Congratulations to our 2015-2016 Teachers of the Year. Voted by their peers as the best of the best, District 7 is proud to recognize, Carla Cato, Kelly Petty, Aly Decken, Jeremy Pruett, Kimberly Jordan, Anna Brown, Bailey Taylor, Rosalind Fowler, John McCallister, Mandy Obermeyer, Melissa Buxton, Angela Truett, Wendy Cont and Kevin Brabham.

 Newberry Medal Author
Kwame Alexander
October 6, 2015

In what's become a flagship event for District 7, this year's 7Reads will feature three celebrated authors, one of whom is the national 2015 Newberry Medal winner for the year's most distinguished contribution  to American literature for children. Praised for his book, The Crossover , Kwame Alexander's novel about teenage brothers, the game of basketball and life lessons learned the hard way is infused with riveting poetry and the rhythmic energy of rap.
Now in it's 9th year, 7Reads will also feature authors Brandon Reichs and Chad Crews. 
Follow the Vikings

2015 SHS Alum 
Headed to The White House

Fresh out of high school and barely into her first month of college, Meredith Boyce is quickly making a name for herself. The 2015 SHS alum and Converse College freshman will be celebrated this week at the White House as one of eleven young people across the country being honored as a Champion of Change. Having lost most of her vision in 2011 following a brain aneurism, Meredith turned to technology for the disabled to compensate for her loss of sight. Since then she's become an advocate for others who have visual challenges and hopes to have a career in technology to advance software for the blind. Read more about Meredith's accomplishments.
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Spartanburg School District Seven | 610 Dupre Drive  | Spartanburg SC  | 29307  | 864-594-4400